Thursday, October 31, 2013

It's the Great Feast of You're Going to Die, Charlie Brown!

So it's Halloween. And the internet is therefore filled with videos of people scaring other people.  Like this one:

Or this one:

I guess it makes sense, all these prank videos. Halloween is supposed to be scary.  But I don't know, it seems kind of easy and lame, doesn't it? Oh look, I dressed in a costume and sat still, or rigged my apartment and then messed with some poor schlub who was dumb enough to actually trust me. Ha ha ha. I showed him. I mean, I'm alone now, and maybe forever, because I do stuff like this to people so that strangers will like me for 30 seconds on YouTube, but I showed him.

I prefer a more mature consideration of the whole Halloween thing.  It's not about "Look, I could work on Punk'd, if MTV even thought that was still cool, which it doesn't." It's about death. Yep, you read that right. Halloween is our weird festival of mortality.  It's the season we choose for a night or a week or whatever your custom to face our own futures, our own sense of vulnerability, our own very real and very realistic terror.

Okay, maybe not everybody.  If you're a kid dressing like an astronaut, okay, we're not dealing with terror. Unless you're afraid of astronauts -- which seriously, is not a bad idea, because they are fricking scary.

But even kids dress like things that terrify them, witches and zombies and monsters. Or they go to houses where they know they might get a little scared on the way to getting candy. When I was a novice all the novices would dress up and stand outside on Halloween; we freaked tons of people out.  I actually caused a parent to run away from her child in his stroller, I scared her so much. Which maybe was a little more than I was going for. And maybe next year I was told I couldn't have a real knife. But whatever.

The weirdest part about Halloween is not only do we undergo these experiences where we're going to be scared, like haunted hayrides and amusement parks and movies and a couple hours of playing Half-Life in the dark. We actuality take on those parts, too.  We become literally the things that terrify us, and try to terrify others.

Think about that. Because seriously, if monsters did exist, probably some of them would be ticked off by our tourism -- oh, look, I can be scary, too. But I bet some of them would be FREAKED OUT. It's like we're putting on their skin, you know? And covering ourselves in hypoallergenic syrupy blood. How creepy is that?

(Answer: Pretty darn creepy.)
(That's Heidi Klum, by the way.  Really.)

Why do I want to be the monster I'd be terrified of in real life? To show it's not so scary? To feel powerful? Because that's just what I wear around the house, don't judge me? Answers will vary.

It's all grist for meditation, is all I'm saying. We're going to die.  Some of us may die horribly.  If the zombies do in fact come, probably most of us. And on this one night we all sort of play with that reality together.

Will it make the real thing easier? Doubtful.

But maybe it makes a little room in our spirits for the possibility that however awful it may seem, it's really not going to be so bad.  There will be laughter as well as tears.

And just like there's a November 1st, when we all go back to wearing our equally strange costumes and doing what we do, albeit perhaps a little more hungover than the day before and with smears of soap-resistant make up, beyond our demise, too, there will be something after.

Hopefully it will have less of this:


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