Ya know, back in the day, my mom would barely even let us celebrate Halloween. It was looked at as "the devil's holiday" or something like that. I never really dressed up, nor did we put up decorations or anything like that. I do remember one time though, we did pass out candy (along with a mandatory little bible track pamphlet that my mom conveniently always had). I didn't start dressing up until I was in college. Since moving to NYC, I've seen Halloween taken to the absolute extreme almost every year. Going to the parade on sixth avenue was an intense experience the first time around. EVERYbody was dressed up. I went as some low budget version of Beyonce because I wanted to wear this honey blonde wig I had, but some people's costumes were very elaborate, over the top, and looked like they had been planned months in advance. Seeing that some people look at the holiday as a fun day to dress up, and others look at as Satan's birthday, I decided to do some investigation of my own...as I don't really know!
Little did my mom probably realize (and little did I realize before the magic of Google), Halloween actually had origins as a Christian holiday! All saints eve was a day celebrated in Celtic regions where people would connect with dead saints, harvest festival style (or something of that nature). When the region where it was celebrated was converting to Christianity left and right, the holiday was kept, but with a Christian twist in order to smooth the transition from Paganism, and make it easier for people to convert. The thing is though, with a holiday that's gonna celebrate ALL dead people, you gotta know there's gonna be some bad ones too! The belief was that spirits of the underworld would be able to roam free among the living to celebrate their time of year (when the days get shorter and it stays dark longer), including the evil spirits. Some of the spirits would use this time to play tricks on kids and scare them. Two ways to avoid this horror would be to give the spirits treats so they'd stay away, or dress up like them to "blend in". The things people think of, right?! Anywho, the old traditions have obviously evolved over the years and across many regions. Doesn't everything? At this point, I pretty much think every holiday is what you decide to make it, no matter what sorts of origins it may have originally had. Because guess what? Everyone is gonna interpret everything in their own way regardless!
Traditions, in general, have always been a weird concept to me. Why do people want to continually do something the same way for a billion years when everything else around them has changed so drastically? But sure, I get it. We love having connections to the past. Nostalgia is a real thing! If something reminds us of a simpler time, by all means, we want to keep the memory as intact as possible by preserving the very specific scenario in which it first emerged into our life. Every year like clockwork, the holidays all roll around on their respective days, we celebrate them, often forgetting why we even do it in the first place. They become a habit of our nature. Holidays become associated with a particular representation such as costumes = Halloween, presents = Christmas, and we diminish other aspects.
I actually do enjoy Halloween. I think it's a darn fun time! But I do know that some people associate it with... whatever they wanna associate it with, and that's up to them. I love the free candy, I enjoy having an excuse dressing up in ways I normally wouldn't. I love all the elaborate theme parties... but most importantly, Thriller is my jam! It took me a while to finally break INTO the tradition of actually celebrating it in contrast to all my years as a kid associating it with Hell and the devil (oh religion).
I've learned that in this day and age, people will believe the things they wanna believe and see whatever they wanna see in whatever they are seeing. The purpose of writers, artists, and creators like me is to give people a view of things in multiple different ways, which in my humble opinion helps us all coexist just a little bit better. This also reminds me a bit about superstitions and how silly some of them may be, yet we stick to them like no tomorrow, even though there is absolutely no proof of validity. Do I really believe walking under a ladder will give me bad luck? Not realllly. But you better believe I'm gonna do my best to avoid walking under those haphazardly things! Perhaps some of these superstitions were set in place to keep us from doing certain things our parents didn't want us to do. Nothing controls a person [society] quite like fear does. I WILL say that I do avoid splitting poles like the plague when I'm walking with someone, and also pick up all the (face up only!) pennies I see on the ground every day (if nothing else, I may secretly get rich, ya know?). The point is, do you! In the words of the great Sheryl Crow, "If it makes you happy, it can't be that baaaaaad".
P.s. If you are looking for a very bloody, gore-filled, freaky, terrifying, might look away most of the time, type of movie to watch for Halloween, go look up a movie called "Baskin". I randomly saw it on a tv at some heavy metal bar in Brooklyn, and everyone was very disturbed. I have yet to see it in its entirety, but I'm gonna!
P.p.s. I recently posted a photo of my old Goosebumps book collection (which my little sister thinks was hers, but it CLEARLY was not), and SOOO many people were brought back to such a carefree time of their life. I do love a good nostalgia post!
P.p.p.s. Also, the Mariah Carey Christmas album is my jam. And yes I certainly do play it year round!