My favorite holiday is not, as you might guess, Christmas. Like many other horror-type folks, Halloween is my Christmas. Some people geek out over what I call the "silly season" and spend craploads of money on trees, tinsel, animatronic Santa Clauses and nativity scenes. I do that at Halloween. Actually, I usually just go into my writing room, take a few pieces off the shelves, and put them in obvious places around the house. It works. But, as is always the case, there are always people who misunderstand. I actually had someone sarcastically wish me a "happy Satanic death-day," which first made me spit coffee from laughing so hard at their indignant ignorance, but made me think about what my favorite holiday (and lets not quibble here...To me, it's holy) means to me.
Somewhere in the Way-Back, Samhain (pronounded sow-een) was an agricultural celebration of the new year and the last harvest before winter generally sucked the life out of everything. It was a celebration of everything the year had given, every accomplishment, and every moment spent with one's family. It was also the one night of the year when the veil between this world and the next was thinnest, and your dearly-departed could come back and visit. Sounds sweet, doesn't it? That's what it was, folks: A celebration of family, of love, of accomplishments, and of "we'd better get our party going on now because it's going to be frickin' cold tomorrow"-ness. I'm paraphrasing that last part. It was also theorized that, since the good spirits could return, so too could a few of the more annoying ones. Disguises were worn to confuse the the more playful spirits, which is where we get the tradition of dressing in costumes. The poor (read: the majority of everyone) would go door to door of the rich (read: the vast minority, but still kept the poor under soul-crushing dominion just like they do today) to beg for food for their celebrations. They also left out small bits of food for the souls of the departed. That's where we get the Trick or Treat traditions.
All that brief little bit of history is fine and dandy, but what does it mean to me. Well, on the minor end, it means I'm actually allowed to go wondering around in a costume scaring the ever-loving hiccups out of children for one night without being arrested. It also means loads of candy and lots of friends. But those things are actually minor to me. Here's the real biggies:
First, my brother and his wife and their boys, my friends, and my parents all come to my house to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Might sound lame, but believe me, it gives me the greatest joy in the world. My Mom and Dad (if you knew them, you'd know why those two words are capitalized) visiting my house and handing out candy makes me proud, and seriously puts me in enough of a good mood that the daunting shadow of Christmas doesn't bother me for a few days.
Second, All Hallows is very special to me personally because of one special event that happened on this day. Eighteen years ago, Tabatha Piszczyk finally gave in and agreed to go out with me. Our very first date was to a Halloween costume party. She dressed as a rodeo queen, I as a drag queen (we were a pair of queens!). From that night, Tabby and I have been inseparable. I proposed to her soon after that first date, and we were married in April of the following year. So the candy, the costumes, the scary stuff are all great and things that I adore and love, but Halloween will forever be a time that I cherish because on that night I found the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Happy Anniversary, babe! I love you.