Halloween is and has always been my favorite holiday. It’s a chance for the “darkness” in me to come out and express itself. It’s a chance to be horrifyingly silly on a day when scaring people and silliness is allowed… or, is it?
Last year I read an article stating that it’s wrong to wear Halloween costumes of other cultures because of the possibility that anyone of that culture would be offended. First of all, dressing up as a Native American for Halloween seems pretty lame to me (no offense to my Native sisters and brothers); and, I think Native Americans have plenty of more important issues, like rampant poverty for instance, to attend to. I mean how scary or silly is that? Not very. If someone were to show up at a Halloween party as a Spanish flamenco dancer, I wouldn’t be impressed. A Spanish flamenco zombie? Now we’re talking!!
Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter. To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
Now I will say that I am glad that no one has kept the “burning of animals” as a tradition. And can you imagine someone wearing animal heads and skins to celebrate Halloween today?! OMG, PETA would probably burn said person as a sacrifice! That said, it would be awesome to see someone dressed up as a buffalo hunter (i.e., a buffalo costume, carrying a rifle)!
See?! Halloween costumes can be witty and scary and funny, even if you’re dressed up as a rule 63 (i.e., for every character there exists one of opposite gender), beloved comic book character that happens to be in a wheelchair. I doubt if disabled people with decent senses of humor will launch a protest with placards… Occupy Halloween?!?! Puh-lease!
This Halloween I hope to see many silly, off-color, scary and original costumes trick-or-treating. If we truly want to be PC about Halloween costumes, perhaps we should expend that kind of energy protesting sparkly vampires and werewolves. Give me back the Halloweens when vampires and werewolves had fake blood dripping from their fangs and there wasn’t a sparkle in sight!