Halloween is recognized as a way to respect death and the souls of the dead. But by doing this, we find a way to celebrate life instead. We mock the very idea of death. This works for me. I don’t believe in the whole death thing anyway – never did. Halloween is an opportunity to laugh at it, make a caricature of it. For too long and for too many, death has had the last word. Nevermore!
Halloween is enjoyed by everyone. It celebrates life by holding a mirror up to death until the mirror cracks and we realize it’s just an illusion. Skeletons walk and talk and hang out with Zombies. Leaf stuffed dummies slump in chairs on porches and under dim lights with knives and hatchets and ketchup dripping down on pumpkins. A neighbor cranks a blood curdling scream over and over from speakers mounted in the window. Kids seek out the creepiest most haunted house in the neighborhood and trespass all over its uncut weeds and tall grass. The next day we get up and put it all away knowing we have nothing to fear. Fear is just a toy we bring out once in a while to play with.
Personally, I like to start Halloween the night before with for a slow and easy read of Washington Irving’s “A Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” or maybe a Sherlock Holmes or Edgar Allen Poe story or two. On Halloween morning there should be eggs, coffee and hash browns for breakfast. If it were possible to order weather as from a menu, it should be a warm, partly cloudy day with mild to gusty breezes – the kind of gusts that catch you by surprise as if something huge but invisible has just whizzed by. Dry leaves should pile and swirl on the ground as they crunch under your feet.
Friends and family should gather together in the afternoon for pre trick or treating barbeque-burgers, brats and beer or whatever the favorites are. The costumes should be the scary, freaky kind like witches and goblins and monsters, not the goofy cartoon characters that schools insist on these days. Darkness will fall early since autumn is now here. As the sun sets, street lights will flicker on and the trick or treating will begin.
Halloween also needs fire. I like to light one in the fireplace or patio pit. Everyone should smell like smoke and throw things they into the fire just to watch them burn. Roast some marshmallows on sticks gathered from the yard. If you burn them eat them anyway. Make that trip to the store for the last minute costume adjustments and to resupply the candy that has been predictably disappearing all day. See the store clerks dressed in costume, they wish they were not working but it is a fun day anyway for them. Most people are in a good mood. It’s not like Christmas or something and we have to run around all stressed out spending money we don’t have.
A raucous Halloween party for adults is a great way to end the perfect day. Just be sure to have lots of food, drink, crazy uninhibited friends, a designated driver or two and some really great music. Have a blast and don’t look back. Remember, we’re cheating death here.