Countdown to Halloween

I don’t celebrate Halloween the way most people do.

Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I do celebrate it the usual way – with decorations and candy at the door for the kids that come by. We play – very loudly – awesome music like Midnight Syndicate, Bach’s Organ Passacaglia, or my really cool Y2K CD of Best Classical Disaster music. We have pumpkin lights in the yard, and because my husband likes spiders, we have a few REALLY BIG ones that we set about the place. I like to wear a costume.

Totally normal.

But there are differences. First, I’m not into gory, scary stuff. No zombies, no cleavers through skulls, no fake blood. And absolutely, utterly, unequivocally (is that enough “ly” words?) NOT any ugly, green, scraggly-haired, wart-nosed wicked witches.

That’s like, one of my main pet peeves.

Hold on, things are going to get serious here.

Ugly, conniving, wicked witches (yes, even Shakespeare’s) are nothing more than the wet dreams of the uptight, misogynistic, patriarchal men who established the world’s monotheistic religions. The sooner people throw that stereotype out the window, the better off we’ll be.

Real witches are people. Everyday, regular-looking kind of people. Sitting next to you on BART. In the cubicle down the hall. Teaching your son’s third-grade class. The CPU nurse taking care of your Dad after open-heart surgery.

You know. People. 

Some of them are even men.

So on Halloween – Samhain – I don’t celebrate by putting cut-outs of black-gowned, evil women in my windows. I set out my cauldron loaded with squashes. I make cookies and pumpkin martinis. I light candles scented with cinnamon and cloves. I’ve even been known to wear a witch’s outfit, because even Disney knew that pointy black hats are simply fun.

And I watch the moon, and I think about the changing seasons, and the turning of the year, and how lucky we are to live on this amazing, gorgeous, alive, ball of rock and water.

Like real witches do.

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8 thoughts on “Countdown to Halloween”

  1. Hey Marlene! Ahh another witch! (or in my case Druid) I always found it amazing that Samhain is a funeral basically. Welcome in the spirits of the deceased loved ones because the veils are thin, and celebrate the new year. Every Halloween my husband and I put on this big event called Comic Con (yeah and it’s gotten really big) and so our Halloween involves costumes and celebrations and friends we haven’t seen in awhile. Have a good one and thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. Sounds like a good time had by all…and I appreciate your mention of the “truth” regarding witches. It would be a less than funny-ha-ha for many with pre-conceived notitons to find out this “truth” about people they’d never suspected.

  3. Thanks, Rhiannon. I did start to write something about the thinning veils, but it had the feeling of a tangent, so I think it wants its own post. Coming up!

    Also, I have to say that your blog is one of the beautiful I’ve seen. I love to just look at the background picture.

  4. I have to say, I recently told my sister I would never celebrate Halloween here because I think the American version we’ve started to import is an insult to the meaning of that time of year. For me, it’s the day before the two important days that remember the dead. I light candles for everyone who meant anything to me. I always found it crass and beside the point that for so many people, it’s just a day to eat candy and have dress-up parties. I don’t mind someone having fun, but I do mind losing the very real meanings behind things. So you go girl–celebrate with your pointy hat ::Grin::

    1. Rhonda: yes, celebrating the spirits of loved ones is a big part of the ancient rituals this time of year. In the northern hemisphere (my soul is a Celtic one), it’s also a harvest festival, and the end of the year, and a preparation for winter. So many of our current practices are carried down from Christian attempts to assimilate ancient rituals into their church, with the aim of weakening acknowledgment of the original gods and goddesses. From there, especially in America, it translates into a secular version, which is watered down even more. So we build haunted houses and scary costumes based on gore, and stuff our children with damaging sweets.

      Sometimes it’s fun to play like that, but it has nothing to do with the true meaning of the holiday.

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