Sunday, October 05, 2008
Photo: Sophia Sario
Halloween is about glowing jack-o-lanterns setting on front porches and on windowsills. There will be groups of children in costumes knocking on doors for about a half pound of trick or treat candies. It will be a night of ghost stories and bobbing for apples down at the community centers. There will be séances, pumpkin carving contests galore, Ouija game boards, and foggers setting the mood for the scariest of scary nights.
As much as we have come to enjoy the playfulness of Halloween there was a time when October 31st was a celebrated holiday called Samhain pronounced sow-en. It is still a magical time of year producing a palette of color in yellow, gold, and red across the landscape. In Scotland and Ireland Samhain meant summers end and rightly so with the cooler and darker days quickly approaching. It is my understanding of history that it was actually a Christian decision to change Samhain to Hallowmas (all Saints day) a time to commemorate the blessed dead and the night before became known as All Hallows Eve (Halloween). Just as those wandering spirits of the dead began to be thought of as evil, so did fairies, angels, leprechauns and pixies came to be thought of as supernatural beings.
Significantly placed in Halloween history today are glimpses of global climate destabilization etched in the masks of political rhetoric of 2008. A trick bailout proposal passed as pacifier treats for the wealthy. Both campaign managers have exquisitely designed sessions of scary nights of debates that prey on the common fears of struggling Americans in an atmosphere of inescapable economic horrors. You can be sure that fears of loud noises and fears of hot air will be triggered by the events this year.
Earthquake probabilities along Southern California’s San Andres fault in October isn’t a highly active fear among scientist and psychics but the most common fear among California residents is the probability itself.
With so many factual frightful themes, this year should be made an atmosphere of sheer fun. Try making paper skeletons and ghosts to deck the hall to your office this year or how about a shinny carved pumpkin for your favorite teacher. Unleash your imagination not your wallet on those costumes and how about something different than pounds of sugary candy to give out. Instead of candy, give stickers, mini boxes of raisins, inexpensive party toys and nutritious dried fruits.