Monday, October 14, 2013

What was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply...evil

The weather has begun cooling, and the trees have begun turning gold and orange, dropping their masks to the ground to reveal their skeletal arms that will soon labor beneath the white blankets that will (for most of us anyway) fall across our land as the seasons change. But before we welcome the breath stealing clutches of winter, we have the pagan holiday to celebrate as the souls are released from the chains of death to walk the earth.

Halloween has long been my most favorite holiday. Something  about the idea of the spirits of people long dead being allowed to roam our earth once more, one night a year is just...entrancing. Now, Halloween has a long history and various origin stories but I won't bore you with a history lesson and will give you the Drake's notes.

Halloween was one of those old pagan/Celtic holidays that was originally designed to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Feasts were held where the souls of the dead were invited to their former homes with places at the table set for them. From my brief research, I've found that a similar tradition is held in the east, with food and money left outside of homes for the traveling souls of family members on Ghost Night. The Catholic Church soon stole this holiday and essentially raped it, like they did all other seasonal celebrations. It was declared, by the church, to be the night to remember the saints and pray for souls that were en route to Heaven.

For me, when I was young, it was a holiday where I was allowed to dress up and be someone completely different and run around my small neighborhood with a pillowcase, knocking on the doors of complete strangers and begging for candy. In other words, the safest night of the year.

One year I was a dragon, the next year a pumpkin. My mind gets kind of foggy in the early years so  I can only remember through pictures and memories seen through a glass darkly: Billy the Blue Power Ranger, Ghostface (from Scream), Freddy Kreuger, my high school mascot, Michael Myers, Christopher Robin, Michael Jackson (twice...soon to be three...maybe) and various others. The dualistic nature of good and evil prevalent throughout my life.

As I got older, I tried to act hard and took to wearing a t-shirt that reads: "This is my costume." acting like I don't give a shit about Halloween. But the truth is, it's STILL my favorite time of the year. My heart wells up, my eyes moisten, I am instantly taken back in time as I watch children run the streets in the waning daylight, giggling with bags of various sizes clutched in their tiny hands. Between the ages of 14-17, I used to take my nieces and nephews trick or treating to indulge and relive some of that innocence and youth.

My interest in Halloween also forks and follows a very different stream.

I have a very deep interest in the dark side of the holiday as well.

I have long been obsessed with the deranged, the macabre, the dark, the scary. It shows in the short stories I read (and still do) and wrote while growing up, it shows in my movie collection, in the long-gestating novel idea that I've been kicking around. There is something so alluring about the contrast between the dark and the light, man versus monster, the dead versus the living...the eternal struggle of good versus evil.

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