I don’t know when Halloween became my favorite holiday. I don’t have any particular Halloween memories from my youth, no amazing epiphany that made me appreciate Halloween and although I have seen a ghost or two in my life, they were during the summer. Even in my adult years, October is a month usually filled with stress and disasters. Bad things tend to happen in October but yet every year I get excited to see Halloween around the corner.
I think part of it comes from the fact that it is one of the few holidays that isn’t tainted by guilt. Christmas is a wonderful winter festival that has been turned into a three month fight between big business and Christians over a true meaning. Valentine’s Day turns into a deadline to get laid and Easter, oh my Goddess, do not get me started on how Easter has turned fertility into a torture dirge. One by one, history, religion or commercialization have battled over holidays and very rarely am I happy with the winners.
Except somehow Halloween. Christians in the South disown Halloween which makes it pretty cool for the rest of us. Candy companies make a killing fattening kids but it isn’t like those poor bastards aren’t already fat on kid sized pizzas. Pagans try to turn Halloween into something magical and that’s cool, they haven’t asked anyone to feel bad about it yet. Through some twist of Fate, Halloween is the one holiday of the year that encourages kids and adults to have some fucking fun. Imagine that: a holiday that makes you smile.
I think also because there is not a central story to Halloween, people step in and make their own stories. Some people focus on the idea of ghosts returning while other people like to focus on the joy of being a child one long night hunt for goodies. Horny adults take the chance to dress up as sexual fantasies while other adults let out a little darkness they have inside to scare the shit out of their neighbors and friends. Without a central myth to aspire to like Santa, or a dying Jesus, people use their imaginations and define their own idea of what Halloween means.
That is ultimately why I love Halloween. Summer is over and Fall is just beginning. The heady pleasure of sun and skin gives way to more mental entertainments. Longer nights, changing leaves, mischievous eyes and colder winds turn our thoughts to the supernatural. We act less and think more. Halloween is the holiday where we get to exercise those fantastic ideas, look at the world a little askew and create our own definitions of what amuses, frighten and arouse us. It is a holiday that becomes whatever we need it to be.
All month long, this blog will be celebrating Halloween. That means I’ll be posting the eight part series, Haunted House of Bondage, posting three other short stories as well as spotlighting some of my favorite Halloween books and movies. There will be ghost fucking, normal people fucking and some fucking I don’t want to ruin the surprise of yet. The most important thing is that stories will get strange, a bit tense and maybe we can give you shivers of both kinds this month.