Sometime over the years, Halloween has lost its spooky charm. Previously a holiday that brought out kids in droves to go door-to-door in elaborate costumes asking for treats, and the party night of all party nights for adults, All Hallows’ Eve has slowly dwindled.
Yes, we know, tell that to the folks who live on Maple Avenue in Townsite and still see hundreds of children at their doors every year, but the reality is most houses are seeing fewer trick-or-treaters, or are keeping their lights off altogether, and Halloween appears to dying a slow, not-so-gruesome death.
Why is this?
First, like every holiday, Halloween has been co-opted by capitalist culture and commercialism. As soon as department stores began mass-producing costumes, a lot of the fun of dressing up was stripped away and the original meaning of the celebration was lost.
Parents, kids and adult partygoers may have the convenience of not working on costumes for weeks leading up to Halloween, but no one really knows why they are celebrating anymore.
Halloween is originally rooted in the Celtic pagan feast of Samhain, which signified the new year. Pagans believed Samhain was a time when ghosts and spirits came out to haunt, and the Celts would appease the spirits by giving them treats.
How this turned into scantily clad bar stars and teenagers dressed in Pokémon costumes is the sordid story of a celebration that has gradually had its true meaning eroded by popular culture.
Halloween is a night to feel alive and wild, a rare chance for some, where adrenaline fuels us to revel in fun and adventure, even if that just means hauling around a pillowcase full of candy or setting off fireworks on Halloween night.
Halloween is also a night to explore the characters and personas that dwell deep within all of us, perhaps lying dormant and waiting for that chance to reveal themselves.
We wear masks on Halloween because the masks we wear in everyday life are not always exciting enough.
Townsite's The Haunted Ball has quickly become the go-to Halloween event the past few years, as has Henderson Elementary School's haunted house.
The reason is because these two events are put on by members of our community who are not afraid to show their true selves, have oodles of fun in the process and get freaky for at least one night of the year, and undoubtedly more.
Let's bring the true spirit of Halloween back.
Jason Schreurs, publisher/editor