|My pumpkin can eat your pumpkin's face off.|
Halloween is my favorite holiday, though I'll admit I don't get too jazzed up over holidays much anymore. Why Halloween? Well, it's a fun holiday, and fell during my favorite time of year, autumn. Also, I always kinda liked the pagan aspects, given my sympathies with that belief system, partly stemming from my environmentalist attitudes, and maybe also from a strange attempt to identify with my Irish roots). I especially like that it's a purely pagan holiday, and totally unChristianized, which makes it unique. Yeah, All Saints Day comes the next day, but Halloween is still just Halloween. But let's face it; my love of Halloween probably has most to do with childhood conditioning wherein I got a huge bag full of free candy just for dressing up in a costume, which was fun anyways, and walking around the spookified neighborhood after dark.
You might think that Christmas would take first place, if the conditioning thing holds true, because toys and other cool stuff are better than candy, but Christmas was ruined for me by working for years in retail. Mainly, being forced to listen to a month and a half of that horrible Christmas music, the same fifteen or twenty old songs on endless repeat, most of them on the down side of good. Also, the general consumerism, to say nothing of the syrupy sentimentality, of Christmas turns me off, and, no longer a Christian, the Jesus stuff is largely lost on me. Plus, again, the month and a half or more of hype, which leaves me with the feeling of just wishing it was over, because it's never so amazing as to deserve that kind of run-up. /tangent
One cool aspect of Halloween is the notion that the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead disappears or at least becomes permeable. This resonates with the notion of "thin places," which were areas the Irish of old considered special in that there, more than in other places, the connection to the spirits, or to God, was stronger. I don't have any Halloween poems on hand, nor am I feeling particularly inspired to write one, but here's a link to my favorite spooky poem, Poe's The Raven (or watch The Simpson's version); and then there is this from my archives, on the related topic of thin places:
Some say they built the standing stones just so,
to mark the places they had come to know
as holy land, as where the veil was torn
between the world of dead and of the born,
and where a quiet minded man could feel,
just barely touch, a bit of more-than-real.
The spirits there could now and then be heard,
by those with ears to hear, a holy word,
and time would pause, eternity be known
in falling raindrops, waterfalls, and stone
Those days are yet these days, today is then--
for still those stones can speak to humble men
and still they stand as markers on a land
where spirit walks with matter hand in hand.