Monday, October 13, 2008
Personal Aside: Halloween an Aberration of U. S. Juvenilia: The Peter Pan Syndrome Encourages Mommies and Daddies to Decorate their Houses. Kids Have Little to do with It.
Halloween Is Juvenilia.
The carnival nature of Halloween is a lingering vestige of U.S. juvenilia, a mindless holiday for Mommies and Daddies. The sobering economic crash should cure all the absurdities of the feast. The open secret is that the holiday has moved from a kids event to something overgrown and not quite mature big kids (adults) play around with.
Time was when Halloween was traditionally a kids fest. Parents stayed out of it since during the Depression and World War II they had far more serious things to worry about. We kids would arm ourselves with pea-shooters and pepper the windows with this stuff, running and hiding. Sometimes we rang doorbells and held behind the bushes to see what the adults do when they opened the door.
Originally the name was All Hallows Even with Even shortened for evening. It had to do with All Souls which the Catholic Church celebrated as the Vigil of All Saints. When I was a kid we were allowed to scoot around our neighborhoods a few evenings before the Feast. Because there were complaints about ash cans being dumped, some bland and kind souls conjured it as Trick or Treat Night where kids in costumes would visit doors where the porch lights were on to get free handouts.
Adults got into the fray in the 1990s when the Clinton prosperity caused so much fun that the grown ups took it over. Thats where you see the houses decorated with huge ghosts, tombstones and fake apparitions. Essentially it is a kind of decadence where Mommy and Daddy usurp the playtime of kids. In fact the kids are left out of it as overgrown adults construct make-believe graveyards in front of their houses.
This juvenilia will pass as the recession hits home. It will be one of the4 salutary things to happen. We have been treated to Mommy and Daddy playing with kids toys and now we are going back to the normal, sobriety where adults consider other things. Until that happens, the constant juvenilia with billboards advertising Halloween costume houses does not reflect well on the maturity of the American public.
Our country has a long way to go to return to adult sobriety. Taking entertainment away from the moguls who run Entertainment Tonight featuring Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohans lesbian fetishes are examples of decadence and excess from a nation awash with too much leisure time and money.
Returning Halloween to its proper focus a fun night for kids will be a good beginning.