It took me a long time to get into the spirit of Halloween. In my home country Halloween corresponds to Day of the Dead. We take flowers to our loved ones in the cemetery. My grandma use to spend half a day attending my grandpa’s tomb on this day. I still feel awkward when I receive dahlia as a gift, since dahlias are the flowers of choice to take to the cemetery on this day.
Halloween is a far cry from the quiet somber moments of the Day of the Dead. Why would we possibly want to dress up, paint blood all over our front door and scare each other?
It took me many years of adjusting but I realized that Halloween allows us to let go, to become something different and to break the rules. Once I looked past the skeleton in the front yard I started enjoying this holiday.
We may not realize but we wear costumes all year long. We pretend to be ‘hip’ and ‘cool’, to be ‘happy’ and ‘successful’. We put on the costume of confidence all the time when we feel scared and insecure. We act nonchalant and sophisticated when we crave company. We play the game, the pretend game to be OK and we talk about the weather when we have something important to say.
Oh we play Halloween all year long!
When we wonder about our job, our mortgage, and our taxes, we carry fear and stress in our hearts but these are not really concrete fears. There is no easy way to release tension from these factors. Halloween is like a release valve on the pressure cooker. Finally we can get scared with no real consequences. We can laugh at our fears and release some of the stress that has built up over the year.
Halloween night we get to pretend to be somebody different, but this is a different pretend game. This one is fun because everyone knows: this costume is coming off by the end of the night. We are not fooling anybody with our act of ‘scary’ or ‘sweet’ or ‘sexy’, and in knowing that we find honesty, purity and fun. For one day we shed the heavy ‘mask’ of society. We don’t have to be anybody, instead we choose to be something. We giggle and laugh and gorge on candy. We break the ‘rules’ of nutrition, we break the ‘rules’ around proper dress codes and let loose.
We may just be more real on Halloween than on any other day.
Maybe this year after Halloween when we put our costumes away we could decide not to put back our old ‘masks’ for society. Maybe the Day of the Dead can come to the living and we can burry all our ‘costumes’ that are no longer real. We will not place our skeletons back in the closet, but instead place a dahlia on our old defenses and walk out to welcome the New Year with our real spirit shining through.
Happy Halloween Everyone. Please eat a lot of candy that is horrible for your health because it is so good for your spirit to break the rules time to time!