Halloween is my wife’s favorite holiday. She grew up decorating and hosting spook alleys and haunted houses. Maybe that’s part of what attracted me to her. I wouldn’t dub her a ghoul nor myself, but we certainly enjoy a controlled fright once in a while. Who doesn’t like a good scare? It gets the ‘ol ticker moving and the pulse pounding. It makes you feel alive. I personally enjoy watching scary movies as opposed to walking through darkened, spooky alleys. Thought provoking psychological thrillers are my preference. Perhaps that is why I enjoy working for the Medical Examiner.
Every day is Halloween when working at a morgue. I’ve witnessed things that belong in the plots of gruesome horror flicks. I’ve seen products of enough violent acts to write scores of my own box office thrillers. It causes me reflect on how much the world has changed even in the past decade.
For example, in a time not so long ago, metal detectors were primarily in public view at airport security. Now we have them in our public schools. What about the simple Halloween tradition of soliciting neighbors for sweet treasures while dressed up in ghoulish costume? Twenty years ago we would spend all night trick-or-treating. Is it safe in our day and age?
I remember one Halloween as a child. My mom made me a shiny, black cape with a quintessential, tall, Count Dracula collar. I slicked back my dark brown hair, smeared white costume paint all over my olive complexion, and inserted white plastic vampire teeth. Man, I looked awesome. I looked so cool in fact that my kid sister refused to don her Pippi Longstocking outfit because she too wanted to be a vampire. Mom conceded and the two of us terrorized our neighborhood all night long. I remember vividly our instructions for safety. We were told to never visit unfamiliar houses and to always inspect our candy before eating.
That warning rings true today, but better technology at the helm. No longer do children need to carefully inspect each piece of candy by hand risking hazardous razor blades and needles. Police departments offer free candy screening under x-ray vision. To ensure further safety, neighborhoods host block parties where children walk from car to car within sight of protective parents and familiar neighbors. They call it trunk-or-treating.
I appreciate the safety and enjoy the ease at which we accomplish the task of begging for goodies, but it is indeed not the same experience I enjoyed as a kid. Suffice it to say, although we’ve become more informed and hopefully more educated as a society we’ve also become collectively more sceptical. The sinister world in which we live has certainly taken the fun out of almost everything. Even a holiday dedicated to the macabre can’t thoroughly be enjoyed in this malevolent world.
I’m reminded of my wife’s favorite holiday show, The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is an effective blend of morbid and merry. I often feel like the main character, Jack Skellington. I’m good at what I do, but I’m always searching for something new. Although, I’m comfortable in my dark, unfavorable world; the glittery world outside looks enticing and rewarding. Even now with Christmas at the door I find myself torn by choosing to watch people hunt down ghosts or christmas stories.
I am grateful for the holiday season. Some people may only include Thanksgiving and Christmas in “the holiday season,” but I also include Halloween. I feel that there is a natural progression from Halloween onward that helps me truly appreciate life. We begin by appreciating life while respecting death in Halloween tradition, then move forward to expressing gratitude for all that we have by celebrating Thanksgiving, and finally end the calendar year with charity in our hearts as we recognize the spirit of Christmas.
- The History of Halloween (everydayfamily.com)
- When Did The Christmas Season Start? (radaronelson.wordpress.com)
- Get your Home in the Halloween Spirit with These Delightful Bouquets (proflowers.com)
- Family gets to celebrate Christmas year-round (goerie.com)
- My Halloween Christmas Tree (thriftycent.wordpress.com)