Tuesday, October 4, 2016

This Is Halloween

And so it begins. For the next few months, the holidays will be coming - bam, bam, bam - one after another. Almost too many to count. Maybe too many to keep track of. Certainly too many for one person to observe. I’m pretty sure no one person would observe all of them anyway. I think some of them conflict, or maybe almost conflict. At any rate, there are quite a few holidays, and quite a few opportunities to celebrate life, living, and the people you love. Do try to keep in mind that different holidays have different impacts for different people. Some of them are fun, some of them are bittersweet, and some of them are just downright difficult. Keep an eye on your loved ones and help them celebrate. Be there when you need to be there for someone who isn’t feeling quite so celebratory. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and, if we work together, we can all be better for it. We can balance each other, and fill in each other’s gaps. It all works out, if we do the work.

Of course, the first holiday coming up in this long list of pending holidays is one of my favorites, and one that is at least on the radar for most of the people who might be reading this. We may not all celebrate the same way, or with quite as much … ahem … celebration (Yes, I have fun with it!), but Halloween is easily one of the most recognized holidays on the calendar. Here in the Frequently Interrupted household, we will be spending the next few weeks setting up our decorations and getting our costumes together, and I’ll be sure to show you some of the work when it’s ready to be seen. We will be having a good time and, yes, celebrating life because, believe it or not, that’s what this holiday is really all about. It was, after all, originally a harvest festival, and there is not much for life-affirming than saying, “Yes, we have enough to eat to go through the Winter.”

Rather than a big think piece, we’re going to open the season up with a musical review. I hope you enjoy it. All music and videos are, of course, copyright to their original artists.

Released in 1993, The Nightmare Before Christmas quickly became a holiday favorite. With an uplifting message wrapped up in quirky characters and catchy tunes, Jack Skellington is a holiday hero, and “This is Halloween” is one of the season’s required songs.

In 1987, the Halloween cult favorite was The Lost Boys, with its teenage look at vampires, peer pressure, and California beach parties. The soundtrack was an 80’s bonanza, but the one song that seems to have held up the best and the longest was Gerard McMahon’s “Cry Little Sister”.

Before questionable sequels and remakes, Ghostbusters brought us a giant marshmallow man, the Keymaster, and a woman who slept four feet above her covers. Ray Parker Jr.’s 1984 theme song is still a Halloween party favorite today. Who you gonna call?

The early 90’s was a resurgent time for the Romantic Vampire, with gothic imagery, Victorian fashion, and morbid fascination. Lestat was the hero of the day, and few songs embodied this particular era quite like Concrete Blonde’s 1990 hit, “Bloodletting”.

Halloween celebrations are not new of course. Even the modern versions go back decades, and there may be no better example of this than Bobby Pickett’s 1962 classic “Monster Mash”. If there is one Golden Oldie virtually guaranteed to be featured in a modern party, this one is it.

And speaking of Golden Oldies, we have to go all the way back to 1815 for one of my favorites, 1782, even, if you want to count the age of the Goethe poem that forms the basis of Schubert’s masterpiece “Erlkonig”. While not exactly a Halloween song, the theme of riding through a haunted forest only to end in tragedy is certainly spooky enough, and this particular shadow puppet video is brilliant.

I hope you have a fantastic holiday season, and I look forward to sharing our Halloween spirit with you as the month goes on. While we’re at it, feel free to share with us. We would love to see your decorations and ideas. Drop us a line or leave a comment.

Happy Halloween!

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