Friday, October 17, 2014

14 Days 'Til Halloween: Weathering the storm

I can remember one October, probably fourth or fifth grade or thereabouts, hoping very hard that there would be a full moon on Halloween. Because I was going to be a werewolf that year, you see, and so I wanted every detail including the phases of heavenly objects to be just so in support of that. I think it also occurred to me that given the full moon's general association with supernatural doings beyond lycanthropy, it just was the optimal kind of moon to have on Halloween. And at that age I was vaguely aware of the existence of some holidays which always fell on the same date and some holidays which floated around, based on "lunar calendars", and I could not for the life of me figure out why Halloween fell in the former camp as opposed to the latter.

These days I'm less concerned with the relative positions of the sun and moon on the 31st and more focused on the weather. And of course my priorities have completely flip-flopped: I'll grant without question that a driving rain and thunder and lightning are atmospherically appropriate to just about any imaginary Halloween narrative, but at this point practicalities trump aesthetics and I would vastly prefer a clear, dry, unseasonably mild night on which to tromp around the neighborhood with my kids. Don't get me wrong, I would undertake said tromping with a golf umbrella in hand and endure the chill and damp without complaint, and the thought of telling my kids "no trick-or-treating in this downpour, better luck next year" would never cross my mind. But I was speaking of preferences.

It strikes me that this is yet another strange distinction that Halloween has in the childhood calendar, that it's an event entirely dependent on one's ability to get outside. Or, at least, in my middle-class suburban template-based childhood; I understand there are kids who live in highrises who can trick-or-treat up one hallway and down the other and never see what moon is up in the sky, and there are also kids who live in remote areas where the preferred nighttime activity is converging on some central location for a big party or somesuch. But go with me on this.

If Easter gets rained out, you can still hunt for eggs hidden around the rooms of your house. White Christmases are nice and all but nothing is ruined if December 25th is sunny and warm. Lousy, uncooperative weather on Halloween is just the worst. And it's been fairly lousy around here this week, massive storms on Wednesday, which just happen to translate into serious sinus headache aggravations for me as the waves of rapidly changing barometric pressure roll on through. So perhaps I've had seasonal weather on the mind even moreso than usual. Everybody talks about it, nobody ever seems to do anything about it, ain't it the truth.

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