It's that time of year again, where pumpkins crowd corners and fake cobwebs hang loosely from doors. Children anticipate the acquisition of gallons of candy and adults prepare for the sugar crashes that will almost certainly follow. Costumes are prepped. Witch hats are aplenty. And mummies stand rigid in window displays.
But that's just in your average elementary school hallway.
Everywhere else I look, fake blood drips down walls and severed heads hang from trees. "Festive" bloody hands hang out of car trunks and fake intestines are slung about as though they are the trendy new garlands that the average american hipster can't live without. Murder is glorified, gore is personified and, for this short, lovely, holiday season, gruesome events are the thing. And, can I just be honest for a minute? I TOTALLY DON'T GET IT. LIKE, I REALLY, REALLY DON'T GET IT. Am I alone? Am I unhip? Am I too old and cranky and squeamish to appreciate a good crime scene recreation?
Here's the thing: I love Autumn. I love this time of year. I love the costumes and the candy and communal aspect that comes from trick-or-treating and Halloween parties. I love a pumpkin patch as much as the next girl. I appreciate a witty Halloween ensemble and a festive, spiked punch.
But you know what I don't love? Violence. Brutality. Gore. Torture. Or, you know, ax- murderers. So I guess I have a difficult time understanding why it is P.C. for us to celebrate and elevate these things simply because tis' the season. In March, we say "Murder is terrible!" but in October, we say "Just kidding! Now it's festive and fun!" and really, it's all just very confusing. I know I shouldn't be surprised, based on the sheer number of crime-based shows and "Saw" movies that have been financially backed and produced (what are we on now? Saw XXII?). It's obvious that our society loves it some fantastic forensics. And maybe it's because I work with young adults or because I am a person of faith or because I can't get my blood drawn without passing clean out, but regardless the reason, I hope you understand how serious I am when I say that it all hurts my soul a little bit.
Yesterday afternoon, I drove past the ol' "fake set of legs protruding from the lawnmower" decoration. This morning, it was a mailbox with toddler-sized bloody hand prints. I think this recent news story is a horrifying reality check on how far over the line we have crossed.
I know Halloween is probably your favorite holiday (because it seems to be everyone's favorite holiday these days). And, if so, I ask that you wear your socially/culturally/politically ironic costume of choice proudly. Drink the spiked punch. Eat all of the candy. Dance with every mummy you can find. But, before you squeeze on the fake blood or purchase a few more severed limbs, just for "fun", consider what you are celebrating and, thus, what you are communicating. Spooky is different from atrocity. Scary is different than brutality. Children are noticing. New generations are observing. Culture is being shaped.
Call me close-minded. Call me ridiculous. But I'm not the one with a bloody chainsaw propped by my door as I greet the neighborhood children.