In four days is the only day of the year that children are allowed to take candy from strangers. The only day of the year when most pranks are not only tolerated, but laughed at. The only day of the year when someone comes toward you with an ax and you laugh instead of scream.
In short, it is the only topsy tury, role reversal holiday we have left in modern America.
If we lived in europe some thousand years ago, or even today we would have more. May day, Twelfth night, the feast of fools, even the way they celebrate new years with mummury. Medivial holidays were a chance to dress in silly clothes and parade through the streets with your neighbors, handing out and recieving treats. They were a day when the drab, normal, work filled life that everybody lived was put aside and new rules where established. The serf was master for a day or the a choir boy was served by the bishop.
Are you noticing any parralells? Strange clothing? Parading through streets? Pretending to be someone else?
But Holloween (or All Hollow's Eve), which has been celebrated since the Medivial period, takes it all a step further. Not only do we change roles but we become what we most fear. In a sense, for one night at least, we conquer those fears. We define them and then we make a mockery of them. We turn them into a game.
And that is why, even though children are told every other night of the year not to take candy from strangers, this night they do.
And that is why I love celebrating Holloween.
Oh, yeah, and the costumes *evil grin*. Can't keep a ren faire geek away from her costumes. I finally have everything I need for mine.
What about you? Do you prefer not to celebrate Halloween? Do you take the kids out trick-or-treating or throw elaborate marsquarade balls? Why or why not?