People are always asking me: Hey, Jon Spruce, will you come to my Hallowe’en party?
Thanks for the invitation, ladies, but I always pass. Hallowe’en? It’s not for me. I’m waiting…I’m biding my time until the holiday returns to its true and native harvest roots.
I’m waiting until it becomes horrible once again.
Don’t get me wrong. I like horror, I really do…which is why I’m patiently sitting out of the festivities until it becomes the kind of party it used to be…All Hallow’s Eve…or, in its original Celtic tongue, Samhain, meaning summer’s end.
It used to really be something…the end of the harvest and the beginning of the dark days of winter…when the cattle and sheep and goats were led from the pastures back to the barns and stables and fenced lots…a time of slaughter…a time of haystack making…when the summer fields were ignited into bonfires…a celebration of the autumn crop of rye and barley, apples, pears, quince, gourds and pumpkins…not this sugar-coated day of plastic spiders and fake cobwebs and mass-produced scarecrows, silly office parties serving candy corn and pumpkin-flavored cupcakes.
Where’s the horror in all that?
I look the other way. Seeing people on the bus or behind their desks in costumes? It used to infuriate me. Now, it just makes me sad.
Why? Because back in the Samhain days of Hallowe’en, those costumes didn’t win you a free candy bar or a free round of drinks…those costumes saved your life.
During the good old Samhain days, it was once told, the quickening nightfalls and the early moons triggered the opening of doors…secret portals and foggy gateways that revealed the Otherworld, that sister-universe running parallel to ours. Drawn by the light of the bonfires and the smell of the slaughter, the population of the Otherworld would pass through these doors and walk amongst us.
Donning hideous masks? That was the only way we could assimilate into the ghostly parade of spirits, demons, monsters and boogermans.
So, thanks for the invitation but I’m out. I’m waiting. I guess I just like my horror the old fashioned way…which is why I went down to pay my yearly respects to the master of macabre himself…to the Edgar Allan Poe House located at 8th and Spring Garden.