I know the fall of 2012 has been pretty rotten, and I understand people neglecting you a little bit this year, but you feel more wraith-like than normal. Yes, Hurricane Sandy has a very large shadow, and many of our thoughts and prayers are justifiably on the East Coast (and parts of the Midwest), but I thought you’d be getting at least a little attention by now. Last year over 160 million people celebrated your ghostly goodness and spent billions and billions of dollars while doing so. You are usually a pretty big deal, this year not so much.
I’m sure the Presidential Horror Show has played a role. Even before Hurricane Sandy things didn’t feel very Halloweeny out. Perhaps we don’t need you to scare us this year since our politicians are currently doing such a good job of it. I’ll admit to my liberal bias, but I’ll also admit that my Presidential choice comes down to mostly being truly frightened of the other guy. Who needs a Haunted House when we have Super-Pacs? I guess more people vote than celebrate your big day (though not by much), but time for one shouldn’t preclude time for the other.
Perhaps I annually visit your doorstep with too much awe. We have a pet name for you in my house Halloween, and that name’s Samhain. For us you aren’t just a day for plastic masks and candy, you are a sabbat, a holy day on our calendar. We celebrate you spiritually and secularly, thought not always on the same day. I know it’s confusing, but we love you so much that we called you Samhain Friday and Saturday and will do so again this weekend. Yeah we’ll celebrate you the day most other people do too, on the 31st, but not with prayers and tears, but with jack-o-lanterns and (fake) spiders on our porch. We love every little last bit of you, to the thinning of the veil to the caramel covered apples in our kitchen. You’re such a big presence in our lives that it’s always weird when so many people in our lives seem to ignore you.
This is my first year at Patheos and you don’t seem to be on anyone’s radar here. The front page of the website has articles on Sandy, the Presidential Race, Islam, Rick Santorum, and the TV shows Survivor (barf) and Grey’s Anatomy (double barf, though that last show is kind of scary). There is one article on telling spooky stories, but nothing about the rich traditions that you’ve got, traditions that are both Christian and Pagan! Of course I don’t have to tell you that Halloween, you know what you’ve got, and that you don’t flaunt it as much as Christmas does is a credit to you. Honestly, I would have expected you to at least piss someone off in the Evangelical Channel (I love it when you do that!), but even that didn’t happen this year. They are too busy discussing Romney’s Mormon faith and job creation (seriously on the last one), they really need you now more than ever over there!
Unlike most holidays you are so multifaceted! You always inspire me to do some of my best ritual writing of the year, and even the ones I don’t write are pretty swell. You are kind of hard to mess up us a Pagan spiritual thing-spirits and the final harvest-BOOM! The rituals practically write themselves. The parties are fun too. When I lived in Michigan I used to have some big ones, and those were good times. I liked the costumes, the debauchery, the kegs of hard cider. Remember the year I got that Raspberry Cider? One of the best nights of my life and I owe that all to you buddy. I like the stuff we’ve added to your legacy too. A nice cup of warm (and non-alcoholic) cider on a cool evening, and snacking on pumpkin and pomegranate seeds. You are more than just candy, you always bring some of my favorite food to the Bacchanalia roaring in the back-room. (I do have to ask though, and I don’t mean to be Jerry Seinfeld or anything, but what’s the deal with candy corn? Did you lose a bet with your sister Easter for worst holiday candy ever?)
I knew we were in trouble a few weeks ago when Target aired a Christmas commercial during your episode of The Simpsons. I know your brother tries to start earlier and earlier every year, but early October? He usually waits until at least Columbus Day. The economy gets a little bit better and he comes out with bells on even earlier than usual. Unbelievable. Speaking of Target they were dismantling your stuff over the weekend and putting up more of your brother’s junk. At least you don’t get treated as shabbily as Thanksgiving, there’s always that.
I know I’ve been rambling a lot today, but we’ve been friends for such a long time that I have trouble imagining you’d get mad at me for it. (Remember when I dressed up as Ace Frehley of KISS for you all those years ago? That was awesome!) What I’m saying is that we really need you this year, because a lot of this fall has been pretty rotten. I know I’m asking you to basically swoop in on a skeletal ghost-horse while leading the Wild Hunt, but I think most of us need a chance to get our minds off the election and Frankenstorm Sandy. You are always good for a laugh (more so than Christmas, your big brother might be more popular but he’s also stress inducing!) and you’ve always balanced that out well with those moments of spiritual reflection. Even when I was a kid you were great about that, you could make me reflective while I was wearing a werewolf mask, you are so under-rated sometimes.
Anyways, I know it’s kind of last minute, but I’m hoping you do something spectacular tomorrow. Scare us, entertain us, thrill us, and enlighten us. It’s asking a lot I know, but you usually seem up for it. Give my friends on the East Coast something to smile about, and the rest of us a break from polls and predictions. Despite Target, you still have a lot of fans, and we all love you too! Thanks for all you do for us.