Monday, October 29, 2007


I like Halloween a little more each year.

A lot of people look down on Halloween, I realize. It's vulgar in the plebian sense of the word. Almost universally celebrated in North America, it nevertheless is a relatively new holiday, only existing since the 1920s (at least according to
some experts). It has no real religious significance in its popular incarnation other than the worship of stomach-turning quantities of cheap sweets. Indeed, nearly everything about it seems decidedly inconsequential, from the relative innocence of donning costumes to the mindless mischievousness of egging cars.

So why do I like vulgar Halloween? Because for a moment our culture sneaks a quick glance at death. The cult of youth--with its air-brushed models and slinky pop stars--steps aside and lets the grotesque squelch down the red carpet. Despite the marketers' attempts to make ghosts and vampires and skeletons look cute and cuddly, we know their fetid stench. They remind us, however briefly, that the grave is destination toward which all flesh sprints.

Crass and gross? Perhaps. But death itself is quintessentially vulgar.

(Picture: CC 2007 by cplbasilisk)


berry said...

that's an interesting take on Halloween. I never thought about it from that angle before.

Loren Eaton said...

Glad you liked it! I'm pretty sure my wife disagrees with me, as does most of my family.

berry said...

here is a post from my blog on "death" from the day before I commented on yours. I forgot about it.

Loren Eaton said...

Very good post. Interestingly, I also used to worry about dying in my sleep as a child. Also had a lot of people I know--say, five or six--get various ugly kinds of cancer in the past few years (e.g. brain, lung).