Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Pre-Hallowe’en (2017)

Originally posted on September 26, 2017

It’s late September and already I saw displays of spooky sculptures and candy and such at the local drug store! It’s a time to be something other than who most people think you are. Your dark side—just kidding! But it’s true that the mind is multi-dimensional and evil as well as good is accessible and on occasion intrudes itself.

Few would dare comment but a daring ex-psychiatrist from back in the days when that profession talked with patients and didn’t just push pills. (With due respect, there’s a lot to be mastered in prescribing and adjusting medications!) But back in the olden days, in the 20th century, psychiatrists used to actually use “talk therapy” in an attempt to straighten out their patients!

(I found the papers I handed out as part of a class on psychotherapy at a major university where I taught psychiatric residents about 28 years ago!) Anyway, back to contemplations on Hallow-e’en:

First of all, I wonder what percentage of the population knows that the spelling of that word is a contraction of All Hallows Eve, or that the “-e’en” is spelled properly with an apostrophe—or am I just being an intellectual snob? Well, maybe so. What’s the costume for that?

Hallowe’en is coming! Oooohhhh! Mock scared. Dress-up. How then to explain it? There’s a part of us that knows it’s sorta-kinda-true, but each mind represses some and expresses some in different ways. Night creatures represent the unconscious mind trying to break through. Making these symbolic effervescents (there’s a good word!) into something more neutral is a funny, don’t be afraid, kind of thing, because it’s a national holiday—at least commercially.

Oooh, booo! In every drug store, costumes, masks, ornaments, etc.—it’s becoming rather elaborate! What’s so funny! What’s so fun?? Touching against the fear, getting an edge, a “frisson” of fear, helps master the emotion. It’s like getting immunized against something by being exposed repeatedly to tiny and then slight-ly greater doses of it.

Elders take it more seriously. People do really die! I’m gonna die! Haaalllppp! A deep spooky voice: It vouldn’t help you dahling! Sort of the 1930s movie Bela Lugosi Dracula voice.

What’s it all about, anyway? Well, for kids, to begin with, it’s a time for costume, to be able to dress up to be fancy-other. Costume is fun. Most of the time kids need to pretend without the aid of costume. Maybe some props. Maybe a stick for a gun or wand or something. More as the spooky-day gets closer!

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