Friday, October 30, 2009


Our house in Tarrytown makes us denizens of Halloween Central. Last Saturday, the town held a parade, led by none other than the Headless Horseman. Possibly, the Headless Horseman doesn't count in the world of semiotics. In Tarrytown, however, the HH is synonymous with the Hudson Valley and, of course, symbolizes the crucial time of the year(OK, I'll admit it: in T'town, the Headless Horseman leads absolutely every parade, whether it's St. Patrick's Day or the Fourth of July, which means mixing messages).

But back to Halloween. I love the scarecrows lining Main Street for Halloween/Harvest season. I also love "Boo" in Bay Ridge (vernacular typography made at school?). By the way, is Halloween competing with Christmas/Xmas/Festivus for lights and decoration?

Seeing people in costume is such a hoot, whether the revelers are adults, teens, kids, or toddlers with nothing more than a funny hat. The idea of people masquerading as something as is amusing—and perhaps reassuring. Do you think that in our dire economy people are using Halloween as an excuse to get out of normal selves? Or has Halloween always been a form of collective exorcism, a carnivale at harvest time?

To discuss: Guy Fawkes Night, observed in England around this time of year but very much without candy.


Suzanne Dell'Orto said...

I always thought of Halloween as a chance to be the thing that scares you. That said, Rob and I went as "zombie parents" this H'ween, and the little weenie was The Cat in the Hat (he makes such a mess!...scary!!!)

Beth Tondreau said...

This from Victoria Buckle at Heritage Images:

November 5th 1605, saw the ill fated plot, masterminded by Robert Catesby, to eliminate King James I of England, his family and most of the aristocracy, by blowing up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament.

Guy Fawkes famously took the lion’s share of the blame for the attempt on the King’s life and we still celebrate King James’s close shave to this day.