Monday, October 28, 2013

King of the Pumpkin Patch

Halloween is sort of an oddity in the holiday world.  It is one of the only national holidays without a set figurehead.  Christmas has Santa Claus, Easter has the Easter Bunny, Valentine's Day has Cupid, even Independence Day has Uncle Sam.  Halloween, however, doesn't have a mascot, a single face that defines the holiday.  It has dozens.  Think about it.  When you think of Halloween, you don't think of a face.  You think of skeletons and jack-o-lanterns.  You think of cemeteries and spider webs.  You think of ghosts, goblins, monsters, costumes, masks, and a tub load of candy.  You think of the general, ghoulish, frightful fun feeling that surrounds the holiday.

Pictured:  The very essence of Halloween.

Each person, though, has their own personal face of Halloween, or what I like to call their Halloween Spirit.  I'm sure this is true.  There's one monster that each person thinks about when they think of this wonderful holiday.  It could be a classic slasher (Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees), a black and white monster (Dracula, the Wolf Man), or a number of other creatively frightening beasts and baddies.  Personally, I don't just think of one set monster when I think of Halloween.  I think of two:  One for the light side of the holiday and one for the dark side.  

Today, we will focus on the lighter side of the holiday, the "kid friendly" side.  I have always considered Halloween to be a source of good fun.  I love seeing all the decorations based on creepiness.  I love that the specials almost never have a central "lesson," they just want to scare the crap out of you.  As we say around these parts, isn't it fun to be a little scared sometimes?  Well, my pick for the Face of Kid Friendly Halloween is the embodiment of that sentiment:  Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas.

"Perhaps next time I should take over Valentine's Day."

The town of Halloween was built to be scary.  Every citizen loves nothing more than to scare the living daylights out of people.  However, as they say, it's just their job.  They don't scare to be mean.  They scare for the fun of it, because most children enjoy a little thrill of fright every now and then.  Jack, as the leader of this town, takes this sentiment and has the most fun with it.  Even when he's trying to spread Christmas cheer, he does it with man eating wreaths and possessed teddy bears.  Think of it from Jack's perspective.  What better gift is there than one that will terrify, one that will give you a great surprise right from the start?  Scaring, for Jack, isn't about the fear itself.  It's about the FUN of being scared.  Despite the toys occasionally being dangerous, it was never Jack's intention to put people in danger.  He wanted them to have fun.

That's essentially what Halloween is about for kids:  the fun that comes with being scared.  Who better to be a mascot for that sentiment than the Pumpkin King himself?  Ah, but that's just the lighter side of Halloween, isn't it?  We have a whole other side to talk about.  A side that isn't so friendly.  A side, quite frankly, that is occasionally dangerous.  Feel free to let us know who your Halloween Spirit is in the comments!  I'd love to hear some different ones.  Until then, folks, have a Happy Hallow-Week!

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