October 11, 2007

The Spirit of Halloween

Holiday homogeneity (say that three times fast) is giving us a Valentine’s Day in autumn, rife with its own brand of dainty, must-have accessories to celebrate the same way as everyone else. As I walk down the streets around my neighborhood, I see more and more houses tarted up with the hallmarks of a touchy-feely holiday. Giant inflatable Halloween themed Scooby-Doos and smiling plastic spiders, do not a magical holiday make. Cast them out I say!

(Not candy of course, that’s still a necessary evil. We’re not animals after all.)

Where are the things that go bump in the night? I don’t want to buy the same holiday as everyone else. Halloween is brimming over with opportunities to create things yourself, and this month practically demands that you get your hands dirty. Lest I become an old Halloween grump, like a music snob pining for the good old days, I offer a handful of alternatives, commercial and otherwise, to help you and me get in the spirit of the season:

Commentary (10):

1. MattConn says… oct 11, 2007 | 12:30 pm

Here in the UK we don’t really celebrate Halloween that much but since I met my wife two years ago (she’s from Chicago) it’s become more of an event in my calendar.

She said to me the other day she wanted to open a haunted house in the UK, she seems to think it’ll be a real money spinner (she’s totally serious as well - I just don’t know…)

2. Stevie K says… oct 11, 2007 | 12:48 pm

I’m with you on this one Jason, Halloween is more or less a burgeoning holiday in the UK, even though we invented it!?! but it is possibly my favourite for the fact that it is not coated in saccharine sweetness. I do not like the twee decorations the supermarkets supply and much prefer to see truly disturbing decorations for it. Something that really freaks out the kids and adults and leave them with nightmares through to November 15th.

Like the Sock Monkeys for instance.

3. Jody says… oct 11, 2007 | 1:24 pm

Thanks for reminding me.. I’ve been meaning to purchase a Walmart BB gun to take out all those Scooby Doo inflatables in my hood this year.

4. Mike Guenther says… oct 11, 2007 | 2:10 pm

As always-loved the article. I will have to look into some of the links you posted :)

I personally have always loved Halloween. I know a lot of friends and family that have their birthdays this month-including mine.

Only thing I dislike is the people that go OVERBOARD with their blow-up lawn decorations!

5. Ms. Jen says… oct 11, 2007 | 11:55 pm

I rather like the way the Irish, at least in Dublin, celebrate Halloween : lots of bonfires and firecrackers.

Halloween 2005 in my neighborhood of Dublin was more than a bit noisy, fire-y, and wild.

6. Kate Bolin says… oct 12, 2007 | 4:39 am

It’s a bit twee, but the Curly Purly Pumpkin makes for a nice little decoration, especially since real pumpkins are going to be a little scarce.

Halloween is becoming more popular in the UK — or, at least, the retailers are discovering it sells. Poundland has some fantastic artwork available, and they are just £1!

7. rainsford says… oct 12, 2007 | 7:27 am

Dublin Corpo are cracking down on the bonfires and it’s major fines and prison sentences if your caught with, selling or using fireworks. Michael McDowell is/was the major Halloween grump. Just because the kids were throwing the fireworks at each other…

8. Steven Clark says… oct 12, 2007 | 2:43 pm

I’m simply a colonial from Tasmania (Australia) where I do see signs on costume shops advertising Halloween - but I don’t think I’ve seen anyone actually doing it.

Here its probably more a chance, if it falls on a weekend, to make it a party theme.

I don’t know, apart from letting our kids knock on strangers doors at night (not really that smart to do nowdays), it looks promising Jason. Now how do we get all the other colonials to get on board with it? :)

9. Lar says… oct 17, 2007 | 12:11 pm

If you want to keep it real and go back to it’s pagan Celtic origins, get yourself as big a bonfire as you can and light it up on Oíche Shamhna.

10. Eric Meyer says… oct 20, 2007 | 10:25 pm