Not a Halloween person

It’s the last day of October. Malls are decked out in smiling plastic pumpkins, orange and black balloons, fake cottony spider webs, and ghoulish visuals. Photos of cute costumed children — in various versions of ballerina, superhero, animal, and cartoon character — will populate many a social media wall. Some offices even hold “dress up your cubicle/floor” contests, all in the spirit of fun and camaraderie.  

Halloween is now immensely popular in the Philippines. Didn’t always used to be like this but now we have Halloween parades, street festivals, zombie runs, cruises, and a theme park.   

The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) sees these developments as alarming, But even more problematic, is its advice to dress up as saints on Halloween instead.

From my recollection, the dressing up tradition during Halloween stemmed from a belief that a disguise was needed to fool evil spirits, monsters, etc freely roaming the earth on Halloween into thinking you were one of them. And if you were on of them, you’d be safe. If you’re still telling people that it’s OK to be costume, as long as it’s “not scary”, then you’re basically still following that tradition.Why not just go all out and say: “Don’t celebrate Halloween. It honors evil.”  

Why not indeed? It’s because it would be deemed too harsh by their parishioners. So there you have it, a soft response that encourages folk Catholicism and annoys everyone.   

Or maybe I’m just cranky because I really don’t like Halloween. 


Excerpts from the Crossroads

On nights that I cannot sleep, I find my bedfellow regret, breathing heavily and loudly beside me. I cannot help but wonder why I only find regret during the witching hours, why something that lays so densely beside me, taking up space, cannot intrude upon my day’s work.

During the day, I am invincible, I am a herald of nonchalance. “No regrets,” I say to a man who has shared the ritual of shattering hearts with me. “No regrets,” I advise a mourning colleague. “No regrets, no regrets, no regrets,” breathe it out.

Perhaps that is why it chooses to make an appearance when I am tossing and turning in my filthy bed. I slips under the covers unannounced and smothers me. It takes me when I am searching for sleep, solace.