Knock, Knock: Who’s There On Halloween?
Right up there with the Labor Day Parade and the Holiday Festival is Halloween on Main Street, drawing thousands to the town’s center for this non-town sanctioned event every October 31. And it is not just children seeking the thrill of Halloween.
Children latch onto the animated character of the moment, along with dragons, ghosts, goblins, and witches. (But face it: diabolical beings three feet tall and under risk being thought of as more adorable than abominable.)
Adult Halloween revelers, though, trade personalities, decked out in ghoulish makeup and gorey costumes, or pose as angels or fairies, heroes and heroines. The further from our realistic selves we can wander, the better. The idea of being undefeatable or impish is a devilish temptation.
Are we answering an inner call of ancient Celts who kept goblins at bay with scary masks, costumes, and blazing fires as darkness encompassed the autumn evenings? Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush we get from being just a little bit frightened by surprising situations or surprising creatures. Like riding a roller coaster or watching a horror movie, Halloween provides a charge — and knowing it is not real, we retain a sense of security, while screaming and laughing simultaneously.
It is all in good fun, even the trick-or-treats. Who does not expect to wake up to trees decorated in rolling waves of toilet paper the morning after Halloween’s nocturnal activity?
“Ding-Dong-Doorbell,” the prank of buzzing the doorbell and quickly disappearing, is hard for tricksters out for a night of fun to resist. A kinder, more gentler version finds the gift of a Boo Box filled with special treats when the door is answered.
The 175 million Americans who celebrate Halloween spend nearly $9 billion each year for a few hours of pretense. Of that $9 billion, Americans will spend nearly $5.5 billion on candy (ask anyone on Main Street how much they contribute to that number) and Halloween décor. It is a bargain, though, when you consider that it is estimated that more than $465 billion a year goes toward ringing in the Christmas season.
Locally, we have plenty of free Halloween spirit, including this Saturday’s SHOP Halloween Walk in Sandy Hook Center and our local Stop & Shop’s Halloween celebration for kids. Or register for the Saturday afternoon C.H. Booth Library’s Trick or Treat Magic Show.
Got a Labrador retriever that wants to be a clown? A chihuahua that dreams of being a ballerina? Dogs join the fun at Saturday’s Tenth Annual Howl-O-Ween at the Park and Bark Dog Park.
Scare yourself silly at the Someday Cinema Series featuring Nosferatu and Frankenstein on October 27 at Edmond Town Hall Theatre.
Then the Newtown Community Center invites little goblins to its first Halloween event, next Thursday morning.
It’s the throngs that swarm Main Street (and every walkable side street) come Thursday, though, that release the darker and brighter sides of our personalities.
Join the fun. Be whomever or whatever you long to be on October 31. We won’t tell.