Bah Humbug and All Hallows Even

It’s Halloween time around our neighborhood and as you drive down the streets the colors of the aspen and the maples play a nature-coordinated decorative tune with the orange of the pumpkins, real and fake, whose black eyes match the colors of the plastic witches dangling from tree branches and the black of their flimsy, battered capes plays with the gray plastic RIP headstones that appear to rear out of frost-killed yards, and the gravestones’ gray hints enhance the white filaments of faux gossamer dotted with fake black widow spiders.

The air has turned crisp and sharp and hints at direr moments to come like wind and snow and ice. On FaceBook I read “Happy Halloween,” and the next three days, all over town, the church parking lots will be filled with cars and “trunk parties” so that the kiddies don’t stand the chance of being poisoned or molested or…Happy Halloween everybody.

Happy Halloween? The origins of Halloween are somewhat obscure but one of the most prominently espoused origins is that it is Celtic in nature and marks the time between summer and winter, a line in the sand so to speak, between bounty and famine, life and death…and as such, the lines between the world we live in and the world of spirits becomes blurred, where intelligences can go back and forth between what is and what has been but is supposedly dead. Is that something to be happy about?

Originally known as All Hallows Even, the date has become a good one for libation, drunkenness, and spending lots of money which I think is responsible for a lot of the growth in popularity for the day…making money…candy, costumes, stuff to hang around the yard, parties and the concomitant cookies, cupcakes, candied corn and booze.

And yes there has been a massive explosion in the date’s popularity, with the hype often reminding me of the days of my youth when the run-up to Christmas created a fever pitch in us kids. Christmas season has moved on to begin three months early, and now Halloween feels to me like Christmas did when I was a kid.

I may be guilty of being a Halloween humbug because I don’t delight in the thought of it. I often recall my days as a kid when a bar of soap to write on windows of houses and cars was more in line with what we did instead of trick or treating. Marking your territory, so to speak, and when getting older, stealing outhouses from the farmsteads where they were still employed and hauling them down to the high school and putting them up on some porch or portico or piazza for everyone to see. I delighted in that. Most people laughed, or knowingly smiled back then about our shenanigans, all except the farmers who grumbled about lost privies. Now the law would turn their dour jaws on us and investigate.

Oh, back in my day we charcoaled our faces, put on baggy outfits and ostensibly went trick or treating, but we were more intent on mayhem and things that pointed to mischief and not good…won’t give me a treat? I’ll give you a trick.

But now it’s about keeping everyone good, which, in our efforts to get accomplished, seems to fail, as the percentage of hell raisers and mayhem creators remains the same, and always will. But we sure can help those retailers cash in on some miniature boxes of Milk Duds and Whoppers.

As for Betty and I, we will be out on the town, the lights of our house turned off, no gossamer in our aspen or dogwood, nor bowls of candy to rot the teeth of little children. Maybe a movie…maybe two. And just maybe a big box of Whoppers or Milk Duds.

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