It seems that the holiday of Halloween has been downplayed over time. Some people try to make it less frightening and feel the need to suppress it. For example, some parents make their children trick or treat during the day time. That takes all the mystery and excitement out of Halloween. Why do we, as a society, feel the need to contain everything so that it is tame? That says to me that there is something freeing about Halloween that makes some people nervous, and they feel like they need to push it down. Frankly, it's too cool of a holiday for people to stop celebrating. There's a reason so many celebrate it to this day.
It has become the norm for only young kids to go trick or treating. When I was a kid, there would be crowds of people trick or treating on Halloween night, and a lot of people participated in it. But as the years went by, fewer people trick or treated, and I was beginning to be pressured not to trick or treat any more because I was "too old". I was still a kid, but people began to think that only small children should participate in trick or treating. I wasn't too happy about this, and it bothered me when an adult commented on it while giving me candy. They would usually say something like, "aren't you too old for trick or treating"?
But the fact is, lots of teenagers like to participate anyway. I don't believe it's fair to leave them out, especially when there doesn't seem to be many places for them to go and socialize. I remember that there were sometimes a group of teenagers at the park I would go to as a kid, because they didn't really have anywhere for people of their age to go and have fun.
I know my great grandparent's generation had fun social events in their community during the late twenties, and again during the war years - they would go to dances. I've noticed that people don't really go to dances any more, at least not usually. In fact, most people don't know how to dance. Teenagers are also worked too hard in school, and because of this, they undergo too much stress, and don't have as much time to socialize with their peers, something which surely is a human need for their age group especially. I find it unnerving that people in their youth have most of their teenage years swallowed up by worrying about school. So it makes me happy that a lot of teenagers my age have been deciding to go against the norm and trick or treat anyway. I completely understand why they still want to - it's fun, freeing, and nostalgic, because they probably went trick or treating when they were little. Why should we let go of childhood completely, just because of our age? Does not being a child any more mean we can't have any fun? Well, maybe it does, but not for me. I think we should always keep in touch with our childlike side, because when we were children, we knew how to be free.
A jack-o'-lantern I made a couple years ago for Halloween.
Halloween was a part of my childhood. Every year I looked forward to October, because it meant that one of my favorite holidays was approaching. I loved picking out a pumpkin, carving it, then watching it glow in the dark after my dad lit the candle inside it. I also loved dressing up in a costume and going trick or treating with friends. The best part was going from door to door, and seeing the decorations all lit up in front of each house.
The picture above is of me on Halloween night when I was 12 years old. I was trying to look like the Faery Queen from the Scottish ballad "Tam Lin", but most people thought I was an angel. This frustrated me, so I kept having to repeat that I was not an angel, but in fact a Celtic Faery Queen. They were a tad bit confused. Some guessed I was a fairy, and only one or two people caught on that I was something Celtic. Below is an illustration of the Queen of the Fay from the picture book I had when I was little. The Queen of the Fay is the woman on the right, almost completely dressed in green.
I have always felt that Halloween is a very unique and interesting holiday. The atmosphere it creates draws people to it. It is the one holiday that is dark and encourages people to face their fears, instead of suppressing any dark emotions we may have. Our society tends to numb its feelings and dwell in a pretend world too much, shying away from anything real and acute, even though such experience is a natural part of our humanity.
Halloween comes from Celtic origins, when the Irish and Scottish were still Pagan, and before Christianity entered their lands. In ancient times, the Celts would celebrate Samhain, a festival that celebrated the darker half of the year, which took place from sunset on October 31st to sunset on the first of November. This festival appears in much of Irish mythology. The fact that Halloween comes from Pre-Christian Ireland only makes me love it more, as I am interested in ancient Ireland. It is wonderful to have a bit of ancient custom survive the past. I know some people who do not celebrate it for certain reasons, but I do not believe that it is wrong to celebrate Halloween. I will always look fondly on it as one of my favorite holidays as a kid.