Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Musings

As Halloween approaches, I recall wonderful memories of childhood: my costumes, trick-or-treating in my old neighborhood with my siblings, fun houses and decorations that were more silly than scary, and watching the classic It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown every year. As an adult, I enjoy the weeks before the holiday when apples and pumpkins are in season, and I can visit local farms to buy them. It’s easy to find places where you can pick apples from the trees themselves, but surprisingly cutting a pumpkin of your choosing while it is still growing from the ground is not so common. There is something unsettling to me when I visit a harvested field of pumpkins, with all the vines and other greenery removed. I would rather go to a farmer’s market and choose my pumpkin there. I am very particular about the ones I choose, because I want the best ones for carving. A homemade jack-o'-lantern containing a lit candle never fails to evoke warm and fuzzy feelings for me about the season and my inner child.

I think the reasons I prefer the weeks preceding Halloween to any other time of the year are many. It begins with the transition from summer to fall, and the glorious colors the leaves in the trees turn into before they fall from the branches. In my opinion, this is also the most scenic time for road trips of all kinds in the Northeastern United States. I also think the whimsy of the holiday also appeals to me; I enjoy the lack of seriousness and the sense of escapism that Halloween evokes. I have observed many people becoming tense or nervous on or before Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The reasons may be due to unresolved family conflicts, strenuous holiday preparations, and/or the general inability to relax; the image of being in a pressure cooker comes to mind. Halloween, on the other hand, is just a breezy day with no pressure to speak of.

Which holiday is your favorite, and why?

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