Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween and the Zombie Apocalypse

Lucas: The Piñata must Die!
Coincident with the end of October, is one of those American observances--Halloween. The History Channel has a good exposé on the origins of Halloween. 

This paragraph from the History Channel article defines the context for the holiday as it evolved in America. 

Celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant belief systems there. Halloween was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included “play parties,” public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

Ethan in Costume
Tonight is that night that the "distinctly American version of Halloween," and the harvest celebration gets into full swing with the annual Trick or Treating which brings kids to the doors of many homes and parents follow along behind to keep them safe. 

I am not a huge fan of Halloween--but, I have come to appreciate the social exchange that occurs in many neighborhoods as neighbors meet, perhaps for the only time each year, on their doorsteps and neighborhoods are drawn together. 

Nicole, the Hostess in Costume
Last evening, I attended a Halloween party which embodies the good characteristics of the observance. Family and neighborhood friends got together, not so much to observe Halloween, but as a pretext to get together and enjoy some time away from the stresses of life. 

Tonight, I will wander a neighborhood following behind the grandchildren and their friends as we visit the holes of their neighbors. Along the way we will bee up with other neighbors that we know from years past and marvel as the growth of the kids i na year. We may exchange some punch or other adult beverage, and we will enjoy the youthful enthusiasm of the evening.

That is bad, how? I think some overly moralistic and self-anointed keepers of tradition need to get over themselves.

I do have a thought! What if the Zombie Apocalypse happened on Halloween? Would we know until it was too late? I don't want to get into a discussion of Zombies--according to the definition, they are fictional characters and they are best left that way.

They are fictional, right?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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