Loving Fall, Hating Halloween

I have to confess, I love Fall. The beautiful colors of the leaves as each ends its time within the birth-life-death cycle. The russet blanket that will eventually cover my backyard, forcing me to grumble as I set upon the task of raking all of the detritus up, and pack it away for a friend’s compost pile. But those grumbles are just my way of greeting a grueling task – in secret, I admire the beautiful colors, and the fact that I spend a short period of time outside. Then there is the cooler weather, which allows me the capability of getting outside, as Texas ceases to be an outdoor Easy-Bake oven. There is a lot to love about this time of the year.

And there’s actually some aspects that I dislike about the oncoming blitz of Fall….but one stands out above a lot of the others:  Halloween. When I was much, much younger – I enjoyed the childhood ritual of trick-or-treating….for about three years. Somehow, when I turned nine – I just was never really enamored with Halloween any longer. And now, forty years further down the line….it remains the case with me.

The costume side of things is “ok” — I have been known to don a costume or two in the past few years for office parties — and I have spent more than my share of evenings handing out candies to some of the cutest ghosties, goblins, and their equally cute mothers. But I really believe that’s about the end of what Halloween is. Just a time of the year to hand out candy to small children, and smile at their parents. Anything beyond that is truly wasted on me.

Yes, this even goes for the horror and shock movies. Honestly, I do like a good campy horror movie – the Bride of Frankenstein, the Three Stooges Meet the Wolfman, An American Werewolf in London, and The Fog are typically something I can sit and watch. But the newer films seem to be all about spraying blood and body parts everywhere, while Tara Reid or Rose McGowan scream endlessly throughout the film. Just not my cup of tea for an evening.  No thanks, I’ll stick with Blade Runner, one of the first two Alien movies or Prometheus.

Sure, there’s also the schlocky “adult” parties that are bandied about in the office. But that feels more like a need to drink for the sake of drinking – or to find some bed partner for the evening, where you stretch your fogged brain to remember what the other person’s name is and/or what happened last night. Damn, I’m pushing fifty years of age here…I don’t quite have the ability to be a racing machine anymore.  Think more along the lines of an El Camino with a camper wedged into the bed.

It took quite a few years before I began to realize what it was about Halloween that I disliked – the manner in which the dead were portrayed. The dead were made out to be evil, mindless, driven with a desire to do harm. But I see those that have passed beyond the veil in a different light. They have transcended this existence and moved on to another. What happens beyond the veil – I don’t know, nor do I suspect I will until I pass from this existence – but those that have moved on are not evil or mindless or bent on destruction of those that are in this existence.

I do “get” the idea of Halloween – the ‘spirit’ of it all, if you will – its a time geared towards the children – allowing their fertile minds to create and focus thoughts onto the noises made by the ‘unseen’ forces. But I will be honest, I prefer the aspects of Samhain that I have encountered in my walks throughout Paganism. A night to honor the ancestors that have passed beyond the veil. A time when the veil is thinnest, allowing for prolonged communication between the two existences.

Yes, there are those that love a good horror film, and those that enjoy a good haunted house where they are scared/excited over an innocent “threat”. And there are those that enjoy being in the company of others, gathered around a bonfire and toasting the memories of those that have passed away in the last year – and those ancestors that slipped from this mortal coil even further back. For me, I prefer a quiet night in the backyard (if the weather permits), a cool glass of iced tea, and a lawn chair – where I can watch the moon move across the sky against the backdrop of the stars. Where I can marvel at how wide, great, and unknown the world around me is – and how I can find connection to nearly everything there – in one form or another.

Yeah…I’m a party pooper….


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