Friday, October 28, 2011

Hallowe'en and its magic

If there's one holiday in the year that I look forward to with an insane amount of excitement it's Hallowe'en. Ever since I was a child this holiday has been significant, not only for the costumes and candy but for the experiences I've had. Some of my earliest memories are of a Hallowe'en store somewhere in northern Indiana in the late 80s, early 90s. I can recall the huge pumpkin displays and the gift of wax lips my sister and I chewed on in the back of our family's car. I can still hear the bubbling of a cauldron, the howling of distant wolfmen, and the groaning of undead which emanated from our car stereo as my dad played a horror sound effects tape, making sure to crank the volume at the most horrifying points. It was an obnoxiously amusing decision against which my mother screamed loud protests.

Nothing beats the enchantment of this holiday especially when one considers the traditions and history it represents. From early pagan festivals to the Irish lantern turnip humanity has been, in some way, remembering the importance of harvest time and the thinning of the veil between the world of those of us who live and the shadow realm of those long dead. The macabre holds center stage as the night hours spring to life with new mystery and whimsy. It's a fitting time to think not only about the end of the tiring growing season but to dream about the vague wonders that lay beyond our comprehension. There's no better time to subject one's self to horror. Nor is there a better time to revel in the fear and magic of it all.

This year I carved my first Jack o' Lantern since I was a small child. Knowing now why the pumpkin is carved and what it represents, I am able to enjoy this tradition in a way I could not before. As I stared into the glowing eyes of the hollowed-out vegetable I could not help but let my imagination go wild. I thought of all the dark, spooky things that are spoken of this time of year. I thought of witches communing around secret fires and eaters of man-flesh roaming the streets looking for a wholesome, delectable kill. My mind went to the covens of imbibers of life's sanguine fluid as they gather in high rooms, contemplating their approach to commemorating the day this year. I also thought of traditional spirits as they also took their place roaming the night. Woe be, I thought, to the one who meets the dullahan somewhere far away upon a murky road, or heaven protect the one who hears the keening of the bean sidhe out in the misty midnight as she turns over a blood-soaked article of clothing in her bony hands.

This year, dear reader, may you find and enjoy the true magic of this incredible holiday. Whether you spend it amongst friends, at home with classic, seasonal horror films, or out performing dark deeds, enjoy. Happy Hallowe'en!

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