Saturday, October 29, 2011

Prepare to be Scared.

Getting ready to migrate south to Phoenix for the month of November. Actually I have to be there before Halloween so I can go around trick and treating with our little grandchildren. Since I missed out on Halloween as a child, I have some catching up to do. Today Halloween is also celebrated in England but it certainly wasn't when I was little. I think some people had parties and bobbed for apples etc, but there was no door-to-door stuff and no dressing up.
I remember my first Halloween in California. I was alone in the house one evening when there was a knock on the door and outside stood a very cute black cat. Trick or treat, she said. I had no idea what she was talking about and no candy in the house. It's lucky I wasn't TPed that night or had eggs thrown at me.
The interesting thing to me about Halloween is how long it has survived--a festival of the most primitive superstition in a modern world. It was a Celtic festival, of course, the night when they believed the doorway between this world and the other world was opened and ghosts came forth. People dressed up in scary masks so that the ghosts and ghouls would see them and think they were one of their own, thus not touch the living and take them back to their world. Christians kept the feast day as All Souls and then All Saints, proving how smart they were in incorporating old religions and giving them a new twist.

You can imagine how frightening it was in the days before electricity and how easy to believe in things that go bump in the night. But it's interesting to me how we still love Halloween today. Some kids like it better than Christmas and not just because of the candy. It's fun to be scared in a safe way--which is why mystery books sell so well, I guess!

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