Halloween hit its zenith in 1994. Costume-wise that is. I was in the 3rd grade and fresh off a transformative family vacation to Europe. We traveled around Paris and Belgium. The most memorable part was a late afternoon sojourn to Waterloo. Where Napoleon’s dreams of world conquest were extinguished by the Duke of Wellington. This affected me deeply. Abandoning my schoolwork for global domination – as much as I wanted to – wasn’t feasible. Not yet anyway. Though it would’ve been a fitting homage. Instead I dressed immaculately as the swarthy Corsican for Halloween. I stayed in character by keeping my right hand on my stomach and obstructing the egress of any Russian or British students. There’s no topping that.
So Halloween, twenty years later, is no longer about dress up. Since I’ve always been a savory guy, sweets are ignored. On Halloween, ghosts don’t do it. Invisible, uninvited voyeurs frolicking around my home. The nerve. Aren’t there better things to do for eternity? I didn’t jump on the zombie craze either. Face-eating malcontents grunting towards bliss. No thanks. Vampires are mediocre too. True Blood couldn’t measure up to Dracula, the genuine article. Once you’ve seen the best of what bloodsuckers have to offer, why settle for anything less? After all, Anna Paquin is Canadian, not Transylvanian. Goblins are holiday busybodies. Werewolves peaked with M.J. Fox. Halloween obsessively focuess on second-rate monsters. When it’s the Devil who deserves top billing. He’s got many great names. Satan. Lucifer. Beelzebub. Mephistopheles. Bieber. Immortalized in literature, film and fine art. Even the American penchant for litigation couldn’t curtail our belief in the Devil.
Musicians enjoy invoking the Devil in song. He turns up again and again. Most notably in the mythology of bluesman, Robert Johnson. The Devil is far more interesting than God. The bad guy is always more compelling. This explains the appeal of Darth Vader and other movie villains. Luke Skywalker? Nice guy? Absolutely. But the sad truth is that most Jedis are boring. It’s one’s inner darkness that we find endlessly intriguing. The Devil is a great character. That’s one of the very few things that John Milton and Al Pacino agree on.
Be sure to remember that rock and roll is the Devil’s music. Happy Halloween.