Scary Monsters, Super Freaks. by Martha Thomases
Halloween is Friday. Before the American Marketing/Advertising Complex discovered that All Soul’s Eve was a terrific occasion to sell home decorations and slutty costumes, it was the National Holiday of Greenwich Village and the Vast Homosexual Conspiracy. Before that, it was a chance for kids to dress up and beg for candy from the neighbors.
What about the true meaning of the holiday? What about its spiritual roots?
Originally, Halloween was All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saint’s Day. According to Barbara Walker, Christians appropriated the holiday from the Celts, who celebrated Sanhain, the feast of the dead. She says:
“The pagan idea used to be that crucial joints between the seasons opened cracks in the fabric of space-time, allowing contact between the ghostworld and the mortal ones.”
In other words, it was the time when ghosts came out and scared the living. These days, ghosts seem like the least scary things around. In fact, there’s a lot of ghosts I’d enjoy seeing again. But this stuff scares me:
• I was working at DC in 1990 when the new Robin costume was introduced. That was a few years after Miller’s girl Robin in The Dark Knight Returns. The new version of the new costume was its enhanced safety features, including a full-length Kevlar cape and covered legs. Then I see this. I guess she’s not as frightened by bullets as she is by the possibility that someone might not see her ta-tas or nay-nays.
• Comic book companies used to have one mammoth super-hero cross-over in the summer, to amuse the kids at camp. Now, DC alone has Final Crisis, Trinity, Batman: RIP, Reign in Hell, and some Green Lantern thing about other colors of lanterns. At this rate, the Event That Will Change Things Forever will last forever. That’s pretty much existentialism but without the good wine and unfiltered cigarettes. That’s scary.
• My only child somehow managed to leave home, move across the country, and rent an apartment. A mere 25 years ago, he couldn’t feed himself, dress himself, or find his local comic book store. Now, I am supposed to believe he can cross the street and take meetings by himself? What if he gets a boo-boo and needs to be tucked in? I can’t possibly fly across the country in time to make chicken soup. His screams will haunt me.
• My husband might get to the store before me and buy the Halloween candy. If I go, I’ll get Zagnut bars, Kit-Kats, and Sour Patch Kids. He’ll get Hershey bars and Reese’s Cups. I love them. We only get three or four trick-or-treaters, because New York kids tend to only go through their own buildings, not the entire neighborhood. I don’t think I’ll be able to resist the leftovers. Don’t give me so much sugar. You wouldn’t like me after I’ve eaten ten or eleven chocolate bars.
• With the economy in the shape it’s in, holiday spending is expected to be much less than it’s been for the last decade or so. At the same time, more and more retailers rely on gift sales to make their year profitable. So, if we don’t buy a lot of useless but thoughtful crap over the next two months, thousands of people will lose their jobs. However, if we do buy a lot of thoughtful but useless crap, we might go bankrupt and lose our homes. In horror movie terms, we can either wait in the woods for the monster to find us, or accept a ride from the ax murderer.
• The pundits on the all-news networks are already talking about who will run for President in 2012. The horror! The horror!
Martha Thomases, ComicMix’s very own Media Goddess, will dress up like a pundit on Halloween.