Dale and I are in the midst of a 2 1/2 week road trip, making speaking stops and conference stops and putting some serious miles on Dante, our inferno red PT cruiser.
Tonight we made our home away from home at the Gray Goose Inn. As soon as I got out of our car, tired and stiff, I was startled by a floating old woman's head with stringy gray hair. My movement triggered the pre-recorded shrieking to begin along with red eyes and convulsing shakes. I was startled and then grossed out. (I know most normal people would just laugh at it all, but I couldn't--see below) She was rising out of a grave, a bloody hand also surging out of the soil. I looked up at the Gray Goose Inn, the Victorian trimmings completely creepyfied by this ghostly, red-eyed woman.
I grabbed Dale's hand (this is one of the unhappy inheritances of sheltering in my childhood--even corny scare tactics work on me--even at age 29) commented on the eerieness, shook myself and marched to the front door with him.
I'm sure the twilight didn't help at all when a happy looking Jack'o Lantern began howling and then laughing at me. I jumped and peered with annoyance into the leering face, some electronic gadget was working well inside. I wanted to smash the pumpkin as we listened to it cycle through 2 series of shrieks and laughs until the door finally opened.
I felt so glad to be inside.
What puzzles me is that people buy these spooky things, they think it's fun, part of getting into the "halloween spirit", I suppose. And I'm the type of girl who LOVES having any excuse to dress up (just ask my family). But the spooky, scary stuff you can keep.
After walking passed two voluptuous female mummies, seeing several lovely family portraits shrouded in spider webs and stopping before dipping into some snacks (the bowl of candy corn sported a stump of a hand in the center) I felt certain I had stumbled into Disney's inspiration for their Haunted Mansion. I kept hoping our room would be un-Halloween-ified.
My hope was not in vain. I sit and write this safely sealed away from spiper-webs and curvy mummies and shrieking witches in this "Room #5" a room with green ivied coverlets and gray gooses on the wall.
Dale made the comment that Halloween really is a pagan holiday. When I see people poking fun at scaring people and intentionally paying money for bloodied, shrouded, twisted looking maniquins, I have to agree.
I wonder if anyone else feels as weirded out and out-of-place as me? I wonder if the way I feel tonight is the way early Christians felt all the time....vulnerable, surrounded by pagan ideas that dehumanized their friends and family. Did they see friends coming back from the temple with hair shaven off and cuts on their body, proof of their devotion to Artemis? Did they witness the degredation of a sister turned into a temple prostitue? Did they watch as neighbors purposefully invested in acts that twisted their humanity?
I feel like, tonight, I can taste the alien-like feeling early Christians must have felt. It makes me glad that Halloween comes only once a year.