I’ve written about my love of Hallowe’en for five years; there is nothing left to write. However, a Spo-fan recently asked me “Really now, why Hallowe’en? What’s the real attraction?” I don’t think I have addressed that aspect of the holiday, so I am keen to answer. I made a cup of tea, turned on some scary music and thought about it. I came up with the factors:
Nostalgia. My All Hallow’s Eves have so many happy childhood memories, it is a joy and a comfort to reflect on them. I still get a euphoria to smell freshly carved pumpkin.
Vitality. Hallowe’en continually changes yet stays the same. I feel the excitement of ‘What are we doing for Hallowe’en this year?” In contrast, Christmas suffers with the passing of time. People often bemoan how Christmas is “now” vs. “how it used to be” – and it was always better then. People feel obliged to do Christmas traditions which often feel flat. Hallowe’en has no such obligations. Do what you will!
Connection. Hallowe’en has its roots in ancient celebrations and rituals of marking the passing of time and honoring the dead. It has elements 3,000 years old. When you hand out trick o’ treats you are participating in something eons old. It gives a connection to the past and a connection to the dead. We need ceremony: and we need one to deal with Death.
Defiance. Zealots battle over and try to ‘own’ Christmas, but they loath Hallowe’en. The more Hallowe’en annoys the pious and the Right, the more I relish the holiday. It is a time to be zany, morbid, and deal with some taboo. I have always admired people who stand up to the status quo – and stick their tongues out at authority.