Ladies and gentlemen, boils and ghouls, welcome to my very favorite day of the year. The best holiday on the calendar. The one day a year when we celebrate our fears and our taboos.
Sure, I know a lot of y’all prefer other holidays, like Christmas or Easter or Arbor Day. I like them just fine. But Halloween is the one day (and night!) I look forward to all year long. On November 1, I start jonesing for Halloween. That’s just the way I roll. Halloween is the most wonderful day of the year, and that’s all there is to it.
And I know some of y’all don’t want your kids celebrating it because you think it’s Satanic. First of all, seriously, I’m rolling my eyes at you. Yeah, it had its origins centuries ago in various pagan traditions, but it was enthusiastically adopted by the church as a way to encourage those same pagans to join up. And yeah, Halloween has long, long ago lost pretty much every connection it had to any church holidays. In other words, at this point, it’s a fully secular holiday. Just like the Fourth of July, Valentine’s Day, April Fool’s Day, or New Year’s Day. If you hate Halloween because it’s secular, then I don’t wanna hear about you shooting off fireworks or taking Labor Day off. If you hate Halloween because it’s got pagan origins, I don’t wanna hear about you setting up a Christmas tree or hiding Easter eggs, which also came from pagan traditions.
But still, even though I’m rolling my eyes at you, go ahead and don’t celebrate it if you don’t want to. It ain’t my job to make anyone celebrate any holidays at all, so whatever gives you joy, go for it. I wish you’d let your kids have their fun, but they ain’t my kids to raise, are they? Although I’d also like to point out that your grandparents and great-grandparents and great-greats celebrated the heck out of Halloween in their day, and I’ll betcha a shiny nickel that they could out-holy you any day of the week. Still, like I said, as it harms none, do what thou wilt, baby. Let the rest of us enjoy Halloween, and we’ll let you observe it any way you want.
In the end, I can’t see anything wrong with one day for trick-or-treating, one day for horror movie marathons on TV, one day for jack o’lanterns and construction-paper bats, one day for mist-shrouded cemeteries, one day for vampires in shadowy crypts, one day for the shambling undead, for howling at the moon, for buzzing chainsaws, for haunted houses, for headless horsemen, for black birds, for cobwebs, creaking doors, tentacled horrors, evil dolls, open graves, lurking figures in the dark, rotting skulls, chuckles from empty attics, and someone calling you from inside your house. I see nothing wrong with one day to celebrate fear, our oldest and most primal emotion.
Have a Happy Halloween. Eat some Halloween candy, watch an old horror movie, read some old ghost stories, celebrate the fun and mystery of the day with your friends and family. But go outside sometime tonight, look up at that night sky, breathe in that night air, and give yourself just a moment to wonder what’s hiding out there, just on the other side of those shadows. Happy Halloween, and pleasant dreams.