Halloween, and Taking on the Aspect of What Frightens Us


  1. It's the simplest metaphors that endure, really. When the human race was young, and the world was an incomprehensible night filled with terrors (apologies to George R.R. Martin), it occurred to someone that by taking on the aspect of the things we feared, we could take on some of its power, which is to say, we would be less afraid. It would help us to face the darkness.
  2. Centuries have passed, and our fears are different. Now, we dress our children up like characters from movies to go into the night and beg for sugar. Some still take on the aspects of the night's terrors ... your cartoony vampires, ghosts and witches .(with apologies to actual witches, which are not the same thing) .. while others become superheroes or Jedi Knights, the aspect of things they wish to become.
  3. Times have changed since I was young. On Halloween, as a boy, I would stay out as late as possible, often alone. Sure, part of it was just wanting more candy, and being willing to walk further for it, but if I were honest, I would tell you I believed there was a sort of magic in the air on Halloween night, and I relished that sense of adventure. These days, kids aren't allowed out that late unattended, which sensible grown-up me agrees with, and knows younger me would have detested. Too much safety takes away the magic, after all.
  4. Is the night that much more terrible than when I was a kid? Statistically, it isn't, but we also know more now. We are, collectively, more aware of danger than we ever have been before, which is something of a mixed blessing. Now, we try to prepare for every possible horror, and the result is a sort of cultural paralysis. We look for boogiemen under every bed, and and say we're being cautious, but when are we teaching each other to be brave? When are we teaching our children to look into the night with terror and wonder, and yet not let those feelings control them?
  5. Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising. The world seems to be controlled right now by those who are afraid of everything, and in that fear, they let darkness into their hearts. They give it power. It's probably too late to dress them up as Frankenstein's monster and send them door-to-door for candy, but it seems there's still a need for a lot of people to wander alone into the night, to come to terms with with they don't know, with the truth that a large part of the world will always be unknowable to them. Is it any wonder that the world seems to now be disintegrating around us? How much of a price do we all have to pay for their cowardice?
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