This is a response piece to Katie Scott’s article which can be read here:
The celebration of evil on Halloween is not harmless fun

Of the two kinds of people the previous article described, “those who know nothing of the event’s occult connections and those who simply don’t care” I suppose I would fit into the latter. I understand the origins of the holiday and I fully recognise its connections to ‘evil’. Regardless, I enjoy the celebration every year, even if my days of trick or treating have long passed.

I do not think Halloween is without fault. I understand the criticism of its corporate nature, actively encouraging more frivolous spending, spread out across the calendar year. I’d even stretch to an argument based around the idea that it encourages harassment, with a variety of pranks played on those refusing to participate. However, celebrating Halloween, as a concept in and of itself, is not inherently a bad thing.

A clear distinction needs to be made here and that is a separation of what is real and what is fictional. The celebration of ‘real-world’ evils and atrocities (i.e., as mentioned in the previous article, the Holocaust) would not be acceptable under any circumstance.

Horrible acts of violence occur in all of these tales, but they are fictional.

In contrast, festivities focused largely on the characters from old folktales should not be seen as something repulsive. Halloween began, as stated in the previous article, based on the myth of evil spirits coming to walk the streets. Comparing dressing up as a ghost to dressing up as Hitler completely fails to recognise the true devastation caused by the Third Reich. Ironically, this makes the comparison arguably more offensive than the custom it tried to criticise.

If anything, Halloween has now become a celebration of a much loved genre of literature, with focus on characters of classic literary works such as Frankenstein and Dracula, combined with more modern works such as Jigsaw and the re-imagining of Stephen King’s It.

Yes, horrible acts of violence occur in all of these tales, but they are fictional by nature. At its heart, Halloween does not celebrate actual instances of genocide and torture. The evil it encompasses is distinguishable from the evils that are genuinely present in the world today. Granted, one could go down the admittedly interesting route of crimes driven by certain films or novels, but that would be a criticism of the horror genre as a whole, as opposed to Halloween as a celebration.

So, I shall continue to dress up and use the fake blood that is admittedly often still visible in the next day’s lecture, despite trying to scrub it off in the shower that morning. I shall continue to watch re-runs of classic horror films whose age makes them more funny than scary and I shall continue to invest far too much time and effort into my pumpkin carving. I enjoy Halloween, despite its connections to evil.

Opinion pieces are the view of the author and in no way reflect the views of Forge Press.

Words by Kate Marron
Image credit: Petr Kratochvil

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