I know it’s past Thanksgiving. But I was too busy to post these two articles about one of my favorite holidays, Halloween. It’s my favorite because I love making and wearing costumes and – bonus! – I’m not the only one wearing a costume. It’s completely normal to see witches, zombies, cats, and (once, bizarrely) taffy apples walking down the street, in addition to the more creative and pleasantly surprising costumes.
However. I have friends who hate Halloween. Some come from the “I hate parties and dressing up” perspective and some from a religious perspective. Both of these are valid. As adults, we can like and dislike whatever we want (de gustibus ne disputandum). But when you have an argument that doesn’t make sense, I need to correct it with facts.
First, an explanation of Halloween’s history up to today, from Pacific Standard explaining some of the reasons people dislike it – too commercial, too scary. I also dislike the commercial aspect, and think people should make (if they can), share, and scrummage for costumes. (The preponderance of ready-made sexy costumes – “sexy grad student”, come on – continues to baffle me.) Also, Halloween now has got nothing on the scary game of the early 20th century.
I mean, look at this photo and tell me it won’t give you nightmares.
The second article was written by a PhD colleague of mine, who is both an archaeologist and a Jesuit priest. It provides insight into the Christian history of an originally pagan holiday, putting an Apollonian/Dionysian spin on it.
Either way: Halloween can be whatever you want it to be. Dress up and hand out candy, go for a party, commune with your ancestors in a cemetery, or sit home and mope.
Just gonna say I went out as a teaching skeleton.