Anthony didn’t hold back his thoughts on Halloween during our discussion of Norman Osborn; he thinks it’s stupid. I didn’t want to derail us further (I failed), but I have carte blanche to say what I want on the blog! All Hollows Eve is meant to be a day of celebrating the darker side of spirituality. From a Christian standpoint, you honor the dead, specifically Saints in Catholicism. It’s during the fall, so you have all of the accoutrements: pumpkins, cool nights, early dark evenings, and animals getting ready for migration/hibernation. There are lots of cultural festivities that never use the term, but occur at the same time of year. Disguises and costumes are welcomed instead of shunned. A little scare should be expected (or if you have a twisted sense of humor like me, a laugh). That’s all well and good, but something troubles me. We just did an episode on the Green Goblin. What in Samhain is a goblin?*
I won’t do a full encyclopedic description, but the best I could find was Middle Age European references to little ugly humanoid creatures known for mischief, and they don’t get along with humans that well. Yeah, that fits for the comic character. ** But, Norman Osborn is clearly human, of normative size, with increased strength. Does that really fit? Also, he’s a business executive and scientist. Would a goblin want to be associated with that? I’m doubtful.***Alright, I’ll grant that Norman got gassed and psychotic, but there’s a more subtle point to be made here. Norman misused catharsis. Halloween allows for a proper outlet.
My first ever blog post mentioned the idea that some characters are designed to do all of the things we as decent people are not supposed to do. Green Goblin doesn’t match the consistent inconsistency of the Joker; we see the other sides of Osborn. Unfortunately, he prefers the unstable side the most. Thank goodness we don’t have to do that. On one day (or any of the other days people decide to have parties, or mischief night which I don’t condone) we get that opportunity to pretend. Want to stay in the background? Ghost it is! Need to intimidate? Pick your monster. Not a comedian, but want the same reaction? Social media is FULL of great costume ideas. Be silly, be frightening, be loud, be brooding, be mysterious…and let it all be innocuous. Give respectful or irreverent homage as someone’s fan. Team up as a family with a theme. Almost anything goes! What’s the harm in that? Let it out, just this once, with the approval of society at large. It will be okay. Heck, take the opportunity to confront a fear! Those fake spiders and snakes allow for desensitization after all.
Want a bit more indulgence? Enjoy some sweets. Get to know your neighbors. Set up wonderful tricks. Be a kid again. Sing, howl, scream, walk, run, dance…and do it so everyone knows you are having fun. There can be joy in anxiety, at least for a little while. Get comfortably uncomfortable. It will be okay. Just this once…every year…with most of society on your side. That’s a rare opportunity. Don’t squander it, please.
What have we learned? The Purge at the level of wanton violence is stupid. Halloween can scratch an itch without the damage.
*If you thought of Sam Hain from the Ghostbusters cartoon, give yourself a golden no-prize!
**If you mention Hobgoblin, I will haunt you. Yes, I know he exists. Quiet, you.
***If you contradict me with the accountant-like goblins from Harry Potter, you will be bobbing for apples for the rest of your life. Why do you test me so?