Seeing Halloween in a new light.
October 30th, 2006 by

Ever since I became a widow, people have been warning me about how hard the holiday season was going to be for me. I have been bracing for the emotional torrent that Christmas will surely bring ever since he died.

Little did I know that the difficult holiday season would start way too early. I am now seeing Halloween in a whole new light.

Being affectionate of the macabre and having a dark sense of humor had facilitated a long love of Halloween. I’d always been into good scary movies, trick-or-treating, and wearing a costume. One of our happiest memories as a couple was the time when we mentored a group of teens to design, build, and act in their own haunted house. My husband and I were “scarers” during the event and frightening passersby with a one-two punch. He even helped me in painting the exposed areas of my body with a ghostly bluish-grey pallor, complete with oozing flesh wounds on my neck and face. Halloween used to be incredibly fun for both of us.

And now, I see the cheerfully “dead” costumed children, and I know that no make-up, even the make-up used in the scary movies, can replicate the look of a dead body. I see the yards decorated with fake tombstones and wonder if the families inside the adjoining homes spent any time this year visiting a real grave. I used to think that persons who opposed the celebration of Halloween were religious proselytizers, but now I see the true nature of the holiday, soulless as corpse’s eyes.

Why, oh why must Americans take a meaningful ritual and turn it into something completely devoid of deeper meaning? Day of the Dead, the holiday on which our Halloween is loosely based, invokes the same dark imagery but instead celebrates the dead with offerings, shrines, and remembrance. Would it kill us to add some depth to our celebration and candy?

So, sorry kids, I’m not playing this year. You can keep your dead cheerleader and dead football player costumes, you can keep your candy and your empty, commercialized holiday. I’m remembering someone real, someone warm and loving and caring, someone whose death is all too recent and honest and painful. And I’ll pay homage to him, thanks.

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