In modern Western societies today, Halloween is a spooky yet very much-awaited event. Many different communities and groups celebrate it differently. Halloween has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity since the 90’s, when people stopped seeing it as “Satanic.”
How come people celebrate Halloween? Despite the many different sectors in the Christian religion, the modern beliefs of Halloween is basically centered on death; it’s the most feared element in Halloween.
Death is associated with all the bad things in human life, such as sickness, hunger, and war. But these components undergo a strange inversion during Halloween. People get to “take control” of them, even without going through them.
Costumes and Halloween parties
This is why people love dressing up as spooky creatures during parties and watching scary movies during Halloween. They love the idea of controlling the otherwise uncontrollable forces in life, making them more acceptable and less scary.
Playing historical characters like generals, submarine commanders and firefighters, or wearing costumes of ghouls and ghosts twists reality for a short time of the year.
Halloween Hollywood Releases
Movies like the Chainsaw Texas Massacre, Saw, Saw II and Autopsy all play with the idea of people going beyond the pale of the normal to explore what it would be like to kill and to evade capture.
But surprisingly, Hollywood movies don’t seem to affect the way people celebrate Halloween. In fact, they don’t seem to affect people’s sensibilities much at all.
Instead of influencing the people, Hollywood actually does the opposite — it NUMBS them to the issues behind Halloween. People no longer seem to care what they watch on the movie screen. This is why most of today’s horror movies deal with gore — it’s the easiest way to scare people and look at death more seriously.
And the kids?
Ever wonder how kids see things when it comes to Halloween? Most kids below adolescent age aren’t likely to have experienced death, horror, or personal loss, so Halloween for them is much like the Yuletide season — a simply fun time of the year.
Where the Yuletide season celebrates warmth and family, Halloween is celebrated close to the year’s end where people are more enthusiastic in commemorating the unseen than what is normal.
It is in this period of the year that younger children ask, “are there really ghosts?” The answer to this question varies from culture to culture; and the suspicion that there are ghosts comes from the celebration of Halloween itself. Why celebrate something if it’s not real?
In the end, the celebration of Halloween becomes an inverted mirror to Christianity itself. Everything that people don’t know, or haven’t seen, or can’t see or understand within the world of Christianity is somehow explained by celebrations like Halloween. The phenomena are many and the explanations are a bit muddled.
Thus, the celebration of Halloween is a way of celebrating what can’t be explained by the general concept of life, death, and in between.