A couple of things I’ve read today, All Hallow’s Eve, have really stuck with me and made me really wonder about the state of our society.
First, I was reading through a local guide to Halloween events and was struck by the fact that each of those listed had the word “safe” in its title. But why do we need to know that the event is safe in the first place? Because, of course, there’s much about Halloween celebrations that is no longer safe.
Even before that, my 5yo and I were walking together down on the Pearl Street Mall, a major pedestrian and tourist center in town, and were startled by two men dressed in costume. Not any old costumes, but quite elaborate and grotesque nightmare outfits, one as a horrific Orc or similar, carrying two bloody and dismembered heads on chains, the other as, well, I don’t know, but it was phantasmagorical and quite frightening. G-, unsurprisingly, was fascinated by the pair and insisted we follow them for quite some time. Luckily a few minutes after we first saw them, one had to pull off his full-head mask and we got to see it was just a regular guy in a fancy outfit.
But even with that sneak view of the man underneath the outfit, G- was totally obsessed with them and kept asking me questions as the day went on, and doubly so at bedtime.
Perhaps it’s because we haven’t desensitized our kids through frequent exposure to modern media, but why should we have to? I hate feeling like a prude or old fogey or something, but I feel like we constantly have to worry about the culture around us.And I haven’t even mentioned the depressingly frequent use of obscenities in almost all settings…
Oh, and the third data point: Hundreds arrested during Halloween bash at a college party in Madison, Wisconsin. This follows a similar experience here in Boulder last year when locals set cars on fire, got into fights and even ended up in hospital.
What the heck is wrong with these people, one and all? What happened to having fun, to being silly but playful regarding Halloween and partying as a way to meet folk and maybe “get lucky”?
It’s days like this that make me quite sympathetic to folk who want to abolish Halloween entirely. And yet, I know that my kids love dress up and enjoy Halloween.
So how can we throw out the proverbial bathwater, but keep the baby?