Ghouls and goblins

We don’t have to wait for Halloween to be scared by fake ghouls and goblins. We’ve got the real things hanging out like vampires in the dingy, damp, dark corners of our worse nightmares.а They don’t even hole up in the cellar anymore, nor do they bother to hide their bloody fangs. аThey’re right there in your face in the news and on the Internet. The better to scare you with, my dear. The world is fast turning into a horror house where terrorizing each other is the new normal. What a hell of a way to live!

As an example, in just one 24-hour period, I heard about yet another episode in the ongoing saga of mass murders in the name of a twisted version of religion.а It was good news when American troops helped to rescue 70 prisoners scheduled for execution immediately after their terrorist captors had said their morning prayers. How twisted is that? аI flinched at a report showing again (it shocks no matter how many times you see it) the heart-rending image of a three-year-old boy’s dead body washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach – just one little soul among hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their ravaged country. The numbers have been so mind numbing, that it takes one graphic picture of that child to remind us that this is real and tragically personal.

I’ve also watched it on the home front. Mass shootings at schools and churches, revenge murders and road rage killings, etc., etc., etc. Crossing my fingers now, as I dread the day when we have similar headlines here in Hawaii.а There are crazies and copycats everywhere.

We also have a different kind of “horror” story taking place on the political front where presidential candidates demonize their opposition and call each other names (“clowns” comes to mind – my word, by-the-way). It’s a joke, really, if it weren’t so discouraging. аAnd look at partisan politics in the guise of seeking the truth. аIt’s become clear that Benghazi is a barely disguised excuse for congressional hearings meant to bring down their real target – a tough, savvy woman presidential candidate.а Whether you’re for or against her, you had to admire how she handled the relentless 11-hour grilling by unfriendlies who didn’t bother to hide their fangs. аThe chairman of the committee (he that shall not be named) was especially pathetic, and so pleased with himself after a stupid question that Rolling Stone described him thus:а “The look on Gowdy's face at this moment was priceless. He was proud, like a 3-year-old who went potty all by himself.” аThat’s about the size of this whole fiasco.а

I admit to being partisan, so don’t get your underwear all in a twist if you beg to differ. You’re entitled. We’ll just agree to respectfully disagree.

In the meantime, as Halloween looms and we load up on jumbo packs of candy at Long’s, put out carved pumpkins at the front door, and wait for the onslaught of little beasties coming to trick or treat, it might be instructive to think about the origins of this popular holiday. Do you even have a clue?

Wikipedia has a detailed treatise on the spooky celebration, but I’ll give you one take on its origins.

Some scholars say it has pagan roots, dating back to the Gaelic festival, Samhain. The festival marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, or the darker half of the year. The Celts believed it was a time when the boundary between this world and the next thinned, allowing the souls of the dead to come home for one night (All Hallows Eve), looking for hospitality. Or in the case of bad dudes, it’s wreaking havoc and taking revenge on their enemies. One Christian minister explained: "It was traditionally believed that the souls of the departed wandered the earth until All Saints' Day, and All Hallows' Eve provided one last chance for the dead to gain vengeance on their enemies before moving to the next world. In order to avoid being recognized by any soul that might be seeking such vengeance, people would don masks or costumes to disguise their identities." Trick or treat!

And it looks like those lost souls are still roaming the world, hiding their true identities under the guise of righteousness.

In the midst of all this, I’ve been looking forward to Halloween for one reason only. I have a little goblin who is experiencing Halloween for the first time as a more sentient little being.а

Last year, Blake was too young to understand, but cute as all get out in the “Stay Puft” costume that his mom, Michelle, made. а

Stay puft

This year, in the spirit of keeping things non-freaky, she made him a gecko outfit.

Gecko boy

They trick or treated at an un-spooky, family friendly Stroller Strides event, where the kids got healthy snacks (sorry, no candy from Long’s) and little toys. How benign is that? And look — they had fun!

I’m just hoping that by the time our little gecko grows up to understand what the world is really like, he’ll be courageous in the face of “… ghoulies and ghosties / And long-leggedy beasties / And things that go bump in the night.”

In the meantime:

аLots of treats, not tricks,

For all you ghouls and goblins.

Happy Halloween!


ай Maya Leland 2014