no idea why I love Halloween the way I do. I don't really like
horror movies. I'm not into the goth scene. I don't go out
for anything theatrical. But when it comes to Halloween, I don't
ever let an October 31st pass me by without grabbing it by the horns
That might sound paradoxical coming from someone who finds talk of
spirits and demons to be ludicrous nonsense, but Halloween is a good
thing precisely because it's the one formal occasion on the calendar
when we get together and acknowledge that superstition and the
supernatural are make-believe. Over the centuries, Halloween has
moved from its embarrassing origins that centered around fears that
people who didn't know any better actually used to believe... to
something that is patently fiction, and only the most brainwashed
religious zealots find anything to fear in it.
A few years ago I asked a co-worker what she was planning to do for
Halloween. She said she (and her church, presumably) "didn't
Halloween." Were I not in complete shock to discover people like
this still living in the 21st century, I would have snapped back with,
"Look, I've seen Halloween. It exists. It comes to my door
looking for candy. You absolutely
should believe in it." Honestly, if the fundamental beliefs of
your church are threatened by kids with a sugar rush, you probably
can't handle the last few centuries of science.
I love Halloween simply for what it is, not just that it galls
religious nuts that intelligent folk are having fun with superstitions
these wackos are actually still scared of well into adulthood.
isn't Satan's birthday; it's simply an excuse to play dress-up, to
decorate, and to confront imaginary fears in a fun way.
Personally, I wouldn't stop celebrating Halloween if those types fell
off the edge of the flat earth they seem to have come from. But
the fact that it bothers them that I decorate my yard with ghosts and
skeletons? That's just gravy.
I support pretty much all the traditions associated with what we know
as Halloween. I want people to enjoy all these things for
generations to come. Dressing up as a favorite character, playing
pretend, scaring people and finding situations like haunted houses
where you can be scared. Because after the initial emotion of
being scared by a "ghost" you go, "Neat! How did they do
that?" And if you start along those lines, it isn't much of a
stretch to say, "Ghosts aren't real. And Holy Ghosts aren't
either." It's one less imaginary boogyman to scare the masses
Tonight, on Halloween night, it's your civic duty to publicly celebrate
this holiday. While they're burning Harry Potter books in church
parking lots, stick it in the face of those who are offended by the
idea of kids dressing as ghouls and cartoon characters. All it
takes is candy. You need to be rewarding those who take part in
the celebrating tonight with their amateurish pageantry. You want
them to come back the next year. You want them to grow up to
continue the tradition with their own kids. If Halloween goes
away either by being driven by force or apathy, it's paradoxically
superstition and foolishness that wins, not rational thought.
The message of Halloween is uniquely self-referential: There are no
monsters except those who would do away with Halloween.