October 31

Halloween

 

We might have predicted the world would end on Halloween.

A fun holiday for children and for young-at-heart adults.  Candy, costumes, and make-believe frights.

Across our neighborhoods, front yards turned into graveyards or into haunted forests.  Skeletons rattled from the rooftops, and broom-riding witches crash landed into tree trunks.  Silhouettes of black cats arched their backs in window frames, and rubber insects flashed red eyes from polyester spider-webs.

All in fun.  But these cartoon entertainments were derived from ancient superstitions. After midnight, some believed the veil between natural and supernatural grew thin.  Ghosts and other legendary creatures threaten to become tangible during this time — a gossamer body drifting through mist, clawed hands reaching across the rift, a tentacle unfurling into our vulnerable world.

Perhaps we’d have been ready to battle such things — armed with rules those monsters must obey when faced with religious symbols, recited prayers, or precious metals.

We weren’t ready for what actually happened.  Skeletons shrugged off comical overcoats and pressed plastic fingers into human eye sockets.  Face-flattened witches found new flight, and gouged a broken broomstick into a victim’s still-beating heart.  Spiders hopped off artificial webs and oozed thick poison into unsuspecting mouths.

No vampires or zombies or other risen dead attacked this Halloween.  Our own decorations turned against us.