What People are Reading
- What a very sad and shocking
2 years 29 weeks ago
- Smart Meters
2 years 32 weeks ago
- 100 year old house burns
2 years 32 weeks ago
- Column 2-10 re Treason
2 years 42 weeks ago
- Radical Difference
2 years 42 weeks ago
- This activity is such a
2 years 50 weeks ago
- Okay Great we got a sign!
2 years 51 weeks ago
- Hate Crime a Sad Moment Indeed
3 years 4 days ago
More in Featured
When did adults claim Halloween as their own?
If there's one thing a small town can outperform the big city in, it's Halloween.
Big cities don't harbor the same level of trust and community of a place such as downtown Norway or on Paris Hill. Big cities at Halloween can be scary places, not for the dark sounding voice of Vincent Price but because of the dark allure of those who see the evening as the perfect stage to exalt their own warped senses of humor.
On Halloween, which is tonight, a house in the big city is like the castle to the peasant - foreboding and unwelcoming. In a small town, everyone shares in the wealth of chocolate candy and other treats. If every one doesn't know your child's name, there's a great likelihood they know the child's parents or grandparents. They may have to school with a cousin, a brother or a sister. Aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews aren't far away either.
This past Friday, businesses on Main Street in Norway opened their doors - and their candy collections - to the children of the area and their parents. It's known as the Norway Halloween Festival but it's more than that. It's a time to extend greetings to children and their parents, including those adults who don costumes to match those of their kids.
It is a feel-good time, a sort of kickoff to the cooling temperatures and the impending holidays. It's a time to bring smiles to the faces of children.
Over the years, Halloween has been transformed into something beyond adults on their porches doling out goodies to eager youngsters snapping "Trick or treat." Halloween, which precedes the Nov. 1 All Saints Day, has now become as much an adult fest as it is a time for children to be - well, children. At least it has in other places.
In one southern American city known for its celebration of death and its fascination with the occult, Halloween has become a cottage industry where tourists flock to that place seeking to explore dark spirits, even if it means traversing darkened alley ways. Where's Anne Rice when you need her?
The city, of course, is New Orleans, which over a nearly 300-year history has seen its share of the voodoo of Marie Laveau, the Creole practioner of voodoo who is still revered throughout the city, especially in the cemeteray where she is interred. As are most deceased New Orleanians, Laveau is buried above ground.
There's even a "Voodoo Fest" celebrated there, where easy listening, country or even jazz are not on the musical menus. We have no idea how fortunate we are in Western Maine.
Adults who grew up in the middle half of the 20th century recall with fondness the innocent times of trick or treating in their neighborhood, where parents weren't required to accompany their children out of fear of the demented souls who linger, where those doling out the treats were just as excited about the evening as the children knocking at their doors.
There have been, over the years, times when many thought Halloween should be wiped off the calendar. Violent acts such as tainting the candy, or instances where individuals were shot in the most perverted example of profiling, have over the years marred the event.
Those days seemed to have declined. Let's hope so.
Interestingly, the ones who seem to get the most mileage out of Halloween are those adults pushing a certain political agenda. This is not new.
When Richard Nixon was president, his image became tailor made for every type of Halloween mask. The recessed eyes and other features, along with Watergate and Vietnam, made Nixon ideal fodder for the Halloween crowd. His "I'm not a crook" statement ultimately became the ultimate scary soundbite, considering he left office in disgrace rather than face certain impeachment.
Today, President Barack Obama, as did at least three of his predecessors (Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush - not to forget his vice president, Dick Cheney) have all made the must-wear facial outfit for such a satirical occasion. That's what Halloween has become for many.
So be it.
In reality, it is some of those political operatives who have become the scariest costumeless creatures of them all. Their anti-this and anti-that postures on so many levels have given too many in public life an undeserved bad reputation.
Is it any wonder, then, that today's young people may be among the most confused and conflicted of any group in recent history? They see the images, they absorb the commentary and they live the language of darkness. Come Halloween, they themselves are often basket cases of uncertainty.
It would be a refreshing change of pace, not to mention, a welcoming gesture of generational acceptance, if those adults who somehow believe Halloween is their sole domain extol their darkest demons and did the non scary act of returning Halloween to those to whom it belongs.
Hand it back to the children.