Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween - an artist's favorite holiday

I love October - I love Halloween. The light changes, softens and grows darker as we head towards winter. The air smells different. By the time October 31st rolls around the mood has been set by Mother Nature and we are ready to prowl the streets at night.

I discovered that there are many websites that have attempted to interpret the spiritual and ghoulish aspects of Halloween into online applications (you can find them in the Halloween book pictured above at One site was an online Quija board – or "talking board" as they called it. This is an interesting interpretation considering that it is the spiritual energy that supposedly moves the pointer to answer questions. How does spiritual energy work online? You can be the judge.

Halloween is a version of so many ancient rituals that were meant to ready human beings for the rigors of winter. Is it any wonder that it is a celebration of moving on, death and the mysteries that surround it? The imagery of Halloween is rich and ready to be plundered by any artist. It is just too tempting – skeletons, ghouls, vampires, jack-o-lanterns, bats and on and on. The color palette – lots of black and orange, iconic. As a designer you have to be careful when pairing black and orange any other time of year because it is instantly perceived as associated with Halloween.

The connection to the afterlife is the most fascinating aspect of this holiday. In witchcraft "All Hallows Eve" is supposedly the night the veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is the thinnest, which allows the ghosts to cross over and speak to the world of the living (and vice versa.) It is the new year in Wicca and other cultures. In Mexico, on November 2nd (in conjunction with the Catholic holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Day) El Dia de los Muertos or The Day of the Dead is celebrated. A day when family members honor their loved ones who have passed. Once again all the great symbolism of the afterlife is dressed up in Mexican finery.

Dia de los Muertos in Oxaca, Mexico

I will always be fascinated by Halloween. The costumes, the rituals, the dark side. It is a moment when we all stretch our imaginations and for one night reinvent ourselves. The reinvention is our being reborn into another year of possibilities. Halloween is so much more than what we were taught as children.

1 comment:

  1. I love Halloween! I also like the pictures you put up. Good job =)