God tells me that we need to be scared. We evolved with a flight or fight response which was incredibly useful before we were at the top of the food chain, so our bodies expect us to exercise our adrenal glands on a semi-regular basis. As we became domesticated and comparatively sophisticated, we lost a lot of the regular contact we used to have with having our wits scared out of us, so we had to come up with something more urbane than lions and tigers and bears to get our hearts lodged in our throats. Somewhere along the way we ritualized that need with Halloween.
Now a lot of people have complained that Halloween has been corrupted over the years. They say that its original purpose was to remind us of the evil monsters of the world, both physical and spiritual, so that we could guard against them all the better throughout the year. In that respect, I guess Halloween is sort of like a fire drill. But, they claim, we’ve now twisted it all around and made it into just another party. We laugh at the ghoulies and ghosties and use the night to engage in all manner of frivolity and debauchery.
I got the notion that this might be due to the effectiveness of horror movies. God refused to support my position, but he wouldn’t categorically deny it either. My thought is that Hollywood does such a good job of making us want to hide behind the couch to watch certain movies that we can get our required dose of fear any time we start to feel a little too top of the world. So with that need taken care of, much as Hollywood naturally cycles from slasher films to parodies of slasher films, we’ve moved from taking Halloween with deadly seriousness to just having fun with it.
So how will I spend my Halloween? I’ll have my fun and get my sugar rush on, but then I’ll pull out my copy of Alien and get ready for a couple of hours of disgustingly dangerous creatures jumping out and figuratively saying “boo” at me.