Does everybody know what today is?! That’s ri-ight! – only one day shy of Allhallowmas, ya-a-ay!
…Not that people tend to call November 1st “Allhallowmas”, nowadays. I’ve heard it called All Saints’ Day, but I don’t know that it’s celebrated much either way, anymore. But if you look at the word “Allhallowmas”, it’s easy to see how October 31st got its name. What is a “-mas” day, after all, without its “eve” to precede it? (I wave down the calendar at another lovely “-mas”. Looking forward to you, 12/25, as always!) “Allhallowmas” to “All Hallows”, “All Hallows’ Even” to “Hallowe’en”. Why we tend to drop the apostrophe, I’ve no idea; the word looks so much cooler with it.
Some people adore Halloween. Some people despise it. I’ve always been largely indifferent. To me, October on the wane meant my birthday was drawing near, and I guess I’m just self-absorbed enough to think I matter a wee bit more than a holiday my family doesn’t celebrate. (Mom’s one of the people who despises the day; the demonic overtones, don’t you know.) This isn’t to say that celebrating me didn’t tend to involve a lot of paper ghosts, synthetic spider webs, and other creepy touches, because it did – whichever restaurants we went to for my traditional birthday dinner saw to that. For my sister, who wasted several of her childhood years being afraid of everything, leaving the house anytime between September and November was kind of a nightmare.
That’s the point of Halloween, many declare: Scaring people. Because apparently, being scared is fun. Up to a point, I’ll agree with this. A tiny dose of the willies can be enjoyable; some of my favorite songs, stories, and movies, growing up, were my favorites precisely because they vaguely crept me out. But I’ve never liked being very scared. My first reading of Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” kept me up and fretting all night long. My first viewing of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” will likely be my last, because not only was I up and fretting, I was throwing-up. (The “Van Helsing” movie made me throw-up, too, but it was so awesome and full of Hugh Jackman that I extended forgiveness.) For the sake of the amusing antics of the Winchester brothers, I put up with a couple seasons of the CW series “Supernatural”, but every episode was as good as hardcore Halloween on that show, so I eventually had to either quit cold turkey or kiss non-fretful nights goodbye; I chose the former.
Others feel that Halloween is less about the spookiness and more about the candy. No complaints from me, there; huzzah for my favorite candies going on sale, say I. Still others prefer to focus on the dress-up factor. My lack of complaint continues; going around in costume is fabulous (particularly, I contend, if one is at a Renaissance Faire). And when both elements unite in trick-or-treating, it’s no wonder kids (both small and less-than-small) are inclined to get excited.
So, those of you who are planning to mark the day: First of all, a timely tune, to be found here, that’s been stuck in my head since word one of this post. And finally, I wish you a safe, non-demonic, fun and happy All Hallows’ Even!
…But don’t any of you come knocking on my door dressed up as a typo. No candy for those who cost me a fret-free night’s sleep.