Those of you who have been reading the Gateway blog for a while might think there’s something familiar about this post. And you’d be right. What’s familiar is actually every single word that follows this first paragraph. Reason being, my attitude to Hallowe’en has not altered one whit since I wrote this last year – and if it ain’t broke, I see no reason to fix it!
So, it’s Hallowe’en again. To kids around the world, an opportunity to dress up in outlandish costumes and run round their neighbourhoods collecting treats. To supermarkets, that small window of opportunity between back-to-school and Christmas to tempt shoppers to part with more of their hard-earned cash for no real, valid reason. To some, a celebration of all that is ghostly and atmospheric about autumn. To others, an artificial ‘holiday’ imported from across the waves, with no real cultural cachet. To yet others, a transparent attempt by the established Christian church to simultaneously annex and disempower the Celtic feast of Samhain.
I must confess that I’ve never been a big fan of Hallowe’en, which probably stems from never having been a big fan of Horror as a genre (or subgenre, if you like). Notwithstanding an abiding respect and admiration for the dark fantasy of Ray Bradbury and the haunting, nostalgic charm of his October country, the whole horror thing has never really appealed. Sure, there are honourable exceptions – mainly for comics like DC Vertigo’s Hellblazer (as distinct from the New 52’s Constantine!) and Alan Moore‘s Swamp Thing – but by-and-large, much as I enjoy watching my kids have fun dressing up as witches and vampires and the like, I’m really pretty indifferent to Hallowe’en.
Of course, not everyone agrees . . .
See you on Samhain!