by Corinne Wnek
Autumn is when nature puts on a show of electrifying color and the air turns sweet and crisp. Fireplaces are cranking up, pumpkins abound and geese are squawking as they make their way to a new winter home. This is as fine a Norman Rockwell scene as it gets around these parts. And then suddenly, there it is in the distance. Another Halloween super store has just opened, unleashing a wild display of monsters and body parts.
I love Halloween and I love the fantasy of Druids, witches on broomsticks and ghosts that set out to haunt us. Zombies are pretty cool, too, as long as they keep their distance. But I draw the line when it comes to assorted body parts as the latest signature piece representing the spirit of Halloween.
Chopped up and mutilated torsos, packaged like something you would pick up on sale at Shop Rite, are bigger than ever and have replaced black cats and the usual ghouls and gremlins as the key ingredient to a successful haunting.
What is our fascination with such depravity? It wasn’t that long ago when wicked witches and other creatures of the night were the crowd pleasers on October 31. Now, it’s gore, guts and all things gruesome. But what’s really disturbing are the human-to-human torture displays that some stores are featuring in hopes they will make their way to your front lawn.
Maybe it’s all Michael Jackson’s fault. After all, the Thriller video depicting zombies and their missing body parts is still a a perennial October favorite. And the slasher movies of the eighties and nineties brought visions of horror and stalking to new heights. Remember lovable Chuckie and his bride? Thank God there were no children of Chuckie. But if there were, I’m sure they would have been gore-geous.
Halloween should be about kids walking the neighborhood together signaling to each other what house is giving out the good stuff. It should also be about fantasy, alter egos and yes, the supernatural interfacing with the natural. So, I’m all for bringing back witches, superheroes and good, old-fashioned monsters like Frankenstein. But can we please skip the corpses dripping with blood who walk around holding their own fallen limbs?
One upshot from my visit to the Halloween store? I am now a vegetarian.
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