I adore Halloween. A fair number of people think I shouldn’t because it’s a quintessentially American holiday. And let’s just say that since the Bush years, the constant Americanization of cultures around the world has not been very popular. But that’s neither here nor there since I do love Halloween and nothing can make me stop.
There’s something comforting about Halloween, and horror fiction in general, no matter the medium it comes in. I still cannot take a shower without locking the door and bringing my phone with me because of It Follows, but I fucking I’d still watch that movie again. And it’s not even close to making the list for my favorite horror movies.
Taking a walk around Helsinki in the fall is a strange thrill. There’s still a lot of plant life around, but it’s starting to die with the colder air. Hence, pretty colors and leaf piles. But it’s the light that really messes you up. All through the summer, you’ve gotten used to it not getting really dark at any point in the day. Then it feels like overnight (heh) it’s getting dark at 8 PM and it’s actual darkness, too. The kind where you step away from the streetlights and suddenly you disappear. The darkness that feels a little exciting and a little dangerous. The kind of darkness that gets your imagination running.
That, to me, is quintessentially Halloween. Because it’s not a Finnish holiday, I don’t have memories of trick or treating or any of the childhood things that most Americans associate with Halloween. For me, it is all about the spooks and ghouls and scary things. The Finnish harvest festival, mostly forgotten by now, includes feasting your ancestors. Clearly fall and ghosts simply go together. Kekri actually does have it’s own version of trick or treating, but most of the kekri customs have been subsumed by various Christian holidays. Trick or treating by Easter, sauna for Christmas, and so on. There’s clearly a holiday-shaped hole in the Finnish fall. Various heritage societies are, in fact, trying to reawaken kekri. But until they’re successful at it, I will keep loving Halloween.
So Happy Halloween everyone! Do something spooky with someone you love!