More thoughts on Halloween

I was thinking on the weekend that Halloween is great because it’s so different from Christmas and Easter. It’s not about the nuclear family. It’s wild and irreverent. In the middle of winter it feels right to come together quietly and light candles and dream about the return of the light, but this is such a fitting way to mark this particular change in season – a crazy party before it all falls down. A much more urgent affair when you know the winter will be long and harsh. This is something I could barely imagine when I lived in Australia, when autumn always came as such a relief.

Over here is an interview with the wonderful Jeffrey Jerome Cohen about Halloween and monsters. He says:

I really enjoy Halloween, and I’ve always enjoyed it. It’s not as if I dress up as a monster—actually I don’t, I almost never do. But there’s something about Halloween that’s just celebratory and fun.

The only thing that I’ll say has changed about Halloween for me, as I’ve gotten a little bit older, is it does strike me that—despite all of the fun that happens—Halloween is really also a brooding on our own mortality and that it’s got a deeply sad component to it.

Part of it is trying to overcome a fear of death by having celebration in the face of death. But it’s also an acknowledgement that death is a part of our lives and we don’t get this on any other day. Our contemporary lives are so lived in denial of our own mortality that it’s the one day that it’s actually out there.

Which is true. But for us, this year, it was just a great excuse to dress Felix up as a pumpkin.

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2 thoughts on “More thoughts on Halloween

  1. I’m so glad you had the chance to experience it this year! Now you can tell the folks back home that it’s not just American imperialism ;-). Ok, maybe it still is…but all in good fun and/or morbid reality.

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