Saturday, October 31, 2015


Well, for one thing, I'm not Catholic, so it's not my holiday. I'm sensitive to things like that. The saints mean nothing to me, and the dead don't live.

For another, I see enough decaying bodies and mortality in the course of my life and work. I don't need the reminder. I am intensely aware of the fact that we're all engaged in a losing war with all the little things that want to eat us and will eventually break our structure down and denature us. Y'all enjoy a frisson of horror because you're going back to a world in which it's not true. But there is no world in which it's not true, and I don't mean to pretend that there is. We are rotting, here where we stand.

For another, deceiving others about our true nature? This is supposed to be festival occasion? It's an occasion I spend my life trying to escape.

So, sure, I'm a killjoy. There are some narrow joys that impede larger ones, and I kill those with gusto. And I don't like deceiving children, or playing on fears. Again, it's the daily stuff of life: it's what people do every day. Enough already. We can play at fear if we ever reach a time when being alone with ourselves for twenty minutes without distraction doesn't terrify us. Till then, we have enough real fear to be going on with. We don't need to invent any.


Sabine said...

I am with you all the way, but we could go back a couple of steps to the pagan origin, Samhain, and kill a cattle or two to provide food for the darker months to come and dance around a bonfire and drink vast amounts of whatever makes it easier to transgress boundaries. Like the good Celts we could also dress up in strange costumes and walk around the neighbourhood reciting poetry in exchange for food. Could be fun, no?

Nimble said...

I like dress up and paint and constructing temporary shapes out of cardboard and fabric. But I can't celebrate the zombies. Especially my own child who likes to shuffle along with the annual parade. There's nothing there for me, I can't play with the idea that my kid is dead or worse than dead.

Zhoen said...

This was not one of my religious holidays, quite the opposite. Had to go to mass the NEXT day, but not Halloween. I don't think it's necessarily about reminding about death and decay, but facing it as something not so fearful. I never had nightmares on Halloween, because the whole ritual made it familiar, not so scary. Diving in, and realizing the reality was no where near as horrible as the anticipation.

And costumes are not about hiding oneself, but revealing oneself in a way not allowed on a day to day basis. For a child, to be able to frighten, means an ability to take power, be important, explore a different reality that might be the right one, the one that fits.

So, yes, you are being a poop, and small minded (well, maybe just a little.) If you don't like the game, don't play, but don't attack the players. It means different things to different people.

Delete this comment as you see fit.

Dale said...

Good heavens, why would I delete it? No, I think you're right. There was a lovely Facebook discussion about this, and a lot of people weighed in on either side. I ended up thinking I'd been fairly soundly refuted.

Lucy said...

Hey, I just remembered I've got a tag at mine called 'party pooping' which doesn't get much use, but now I've got a post I can use it for!

But really, as a seasoned party-pooper myself on all sorts of occasions, and by happy chance living in a land whose language has a built-in expression for when I do so (filer a l'anglaise), I support anyone's right to to opt out of anything, for their own reasons. And we need to question sometimes, as I've said, and listen to our own discomforts.

What did you do when your children were young, out of interest? Sorry, I'm sure you've covered all this on FB already but I don't do it (another instance of party-pooping!).

Dale said...

Oh, when you have kids it's a hostage situation and you just do whatever the world wants you to :-)