Halloween is a watered-down substitute for something we actually need.
Unfortunately it is a heavily diluted version of what it could be. This is tragic because our culture is in deep need of a formidable challenge to the systems of oppression and marginalization. The old notion of Carnival was a least a vacation from the repetition and redundancy of the status quo. Carnival was a suspension of social norms and expectations. It provided an opportunity to examine and challenge ‘the way things are’ and to turn upside-down the domination of the established order.
The problem is that Halloween has become nothing more than a distraction from the way things are. Instead of wetting our appetite and creating a desire for something greater – we are easily satisfied with mass-produced candy and slightly risqué costumes.
Our costumes and rituals bring us closer to reinforcing problematic gender stereotypes than they do to challenging us in reexamining our assumptions about sexuality within the essentialist binary understandings that we have inherited.
We miss the opportunity to boycott the drunken capitalist system and its insatiable market driven orgy of perpetual consumerism. Instead, we reinforce the very system of marketing and goods that daily bombards us with commercials of manufactured desire and unrelenting need.
It’s not that I don’t like Halloween, it’s just that it makes me sad to think about what it could be and to know what it has been distilled from. I wish that it was an intensified version of what Carnival points toward, rather than this – a compromised and impotent cartoony descendant that actually reinforces that very structures and institutions we need to challenge.
Anyway – those are my thoughts during a quick study break from exam prep … now back to the books.