A Halloween hangover? Likely not.
I figure of all the holidays, Halloween (or Hallowe’en as we used to spell it when I was a kid) has the least staying power of all the holidays. Once it’s over, it’s over.
That’s why costume parties at bars and house parties have to be held on the weekend before Oct. 31. Don’t even try to have one this weekend as the thrill is gone.
Yet the holiday likely generates more excitement among children, and economic generation among adults, than any other holiday, sans Christmas.
The contrast is also interesting.
Christmas’ attraction is obvious. It’s all about birth and the dawn of a new day and miracles and angels and wise men and presents and being on our best behaviour and goodwill and family — and leads into Happy New Year, another one of the biggest, feel-good holidays of the year.
Halloween is all about death and nightmares and greed and blowing things up and zombies and fear and darkness and evil and hiding one’s face and ill will and strangers — and leads into All Saints Day, which we don’t even celebrate any more.
It’s curious and I guess appropriate that our two biggest celebrations are about life and death – the two undeniable truths of our existence, yet the two most mysterious as well.
Why are we here and where do we go when we’re not here?
Halloween used to be so simple when we were kids. Until they went all safety and politically correct on a holiday that was supposed to be, well, a little bit unsafe and more than a tad politically incorrect.
There’s a lot we don’t “get” these days and Halloween is one of them.
In the old days, after dinosaurs and before video games, we could start to buy firecrackers one week before Halloween at our local corner store (Wally’s Market).
Thinking back, it’s amazing they let terrorists-in-training buy small incendiary devices and blow up apples, pumpkins and lunch kits. Yet, very few of us grew up to be terrorists.
Certainly there were small casualties, one buddy burned his face pretty bad checking to see if a firework had gone off — it hadn’t.
But we had freedom to do our own thing and learn along the way. They soon outlawed firecrackers and then fireworks and the world was a safer place, if more boring and predictable and sad.
Oh well, there was still candy and costumes.
We would go as martians, ghosts, cowboys, monsters and if we couldn’t think of anything else, or left it too late, a hockey player. There was probably at least one year when we went as what today would be called politically incorrect.
But because we didn’t know it was, we didn’t have to worry about it, unlike today, where a wrong choice on Oct. 31 may cost you a political career one day.
And as soon as it was dark we would head to the Foord’s house next door where we would get yummy popcorn balls to start things off on a great note. Today those well-intentioned treats would be tossed in the trash for safety sake. Yikes.
But I wonder, as they sanitize the holiday a bit more each year, if we may lose it in the long run.
Certainly chocolate bar makers will try to keep it going, but then those treats are frowned upon too.
Some day they will give out dental floss as treats and that may be the beginning of the end.
What self-respecting kid is going to go door to door for dental products? Or dress up for health food?
Oh well, All Hallow’s Eve survived another year. Happy All Saints Day everyone.
Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of The Morning Star