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ISSUE 120 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/27/2006

A spooky word from our editors

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor

Friday, October 27, 2006

I love Halloween. Always have, always will. It’s just that simple. I love dressing up and scurrying about my neighborhood begging for treats. But this year, as I don my special edition authenticated Mr. Spock outfit, I would like to know really where Halloween came from. Why do we participate in these crazy antics? And why do I love Star Trek so much?

As any other good catholic school kid knows, Halloween is another beautiful pagan tradition Christianized by the Church – thank you Christopher Columbus.

The legend and history of Halloween is vague at best, but the thread traced throughout is as follows:

Two-thousand years ago, in pockets of what is now known as Ireland, France and the United Kingdom, the Celts celebrated the festival of Samhain, which was the equivalent of our New Year on November 1. It functioned as a sort of fiscal year at the end of the summer harvest and beginning of winter.

Celts believed that the approaching winter represented death, summer represented life, and therefore, the transition from life to death was at midnight of November 1. As a result, Samhain was celebrated on October 31 when all of the ghosts of the recent dead roamed the earth rustling bushes, turning off lights and saying “oooh” in people’s ears. These ghosts caused various formed of trouble, but one key element was that, with the added presence of ghosts running around town, Druids (or Celtic priests) were able to make predictions about the future. This event was celebrated with a feast and festival at which the Celts wore costumes.

Another popular story of the origin of costume wearing is that, along with extinguishing house fires to make a home cold and undesirable, scary and ghoulish costumes were worn by Druids in order to scare away ghosts looking to possess an unsuspecting costumeless person – not to mention that even lewd and outrageous behavior was encouraged because it apparently had the same effect on ghosts, and, well, who doesn’t just love crazies in costumes.

As each region was occupied by a different empire, these traditions evolved until 800 A.D, when Pope Boniface IV dubbed November 1 as “All Saints Day,” a day to honor saints and martyrs. The celebration of Samhain was preserved in the celebration of “All-Hallows Eve,” which eventually evolved into Halloween.

What this tradition reveals is the human fascination with death and the afterlife, as well as the aptitude and enjoyment of the natural excitement of fear. Ghouls, goblins, zombies and, best of all, vampires are all spooky creations that seem to come out exclusively on Halloween.

Whether you are ghoul or goblin, a tricker or a treater, or simply just a candy lover, enjoy this Halloween weekend with as much appropriately lewd behavior as possible, and don’t eat an unopened wrappers. As for me, I’ll be renting “Kiss Does Halloween,” “Ernest Scared Stupid,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” dressing up like Mr. Spock, and hunkering down with a bowl of discounted Halloween candy from Target.

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