Halloween, the modern day opera

Published by Erica on

Halloween is just around the corner, with everything that entails. In modern times, it seems like the holiday has morphed into something beyond itself. Halloween these days, especially for LDS college-age youth, is more like the Carnival celebrations of the early 1500’s than a celebration of the deceased. 

Carnival, particularly as it was celebrated in Venice, allowed the people to take a reprieve from their standard lives. The two week celebration directly preceded Lent, giving the Catholic population a legitimate release from their strict moral codes. It was a time that truly exemplified the phrase “eat, drink, and be merry.” 

Opera extended this concept of Carnival by opening the stage as a new forum, free of the stringent rules of daily life. Characters there could act out their roles, which many times involved plot lines that veered from strict moral codes of the day. Like Carnival, this was not seen as subversive at all. By allowing the people a way to alleviate social tensions and escape, even in limited fashion, the mores of their day, social and moral order could be more easily attained during the other 21 hours of the day. 

How does modern-day Halloween rate into this, though? Well, looking primarily at college-aged populations in Utah, it appears that Halloween has become the innocuous chamber where regular rules and standards no longer apply and cavorting frivolity is the order of the day. When is it acceptable to dress up in what amounts to lingerie and parade around in public? If you’re not a Victoria Secret model, that opportunity doesn’t really exist. However, some seem to think that because you’re dressing up in a “costume” for a party, you can throw all moral and social codes out the window. Men and women kowtow to their carnal natures and embrace the night, pushing the limits as much as they can. The next morning they wake up and go to church as if their actions the previous night fit right in line with the guidelines they know and agree to follow. 

Obviously, this is just one case-study. Many comparable students have very little to do with this type of hypocrisy, which I appreciate and commend. But for those that take Halloween as an excuse to “be bad,” I feel they are no more enlightened than those of yesteryear who needed special holidays and entertainments to get a break from reality. Adherence to truth doesn’t admit such frailties as these, and I believe that honesty is key in all our interactions with ourselves, others, and God. 

And that is why I don’t care much for Halloween and how it has become in some ways the modern-day equivalent of early Venetian opera. 

PS. Sorry this is post-Halloween. Life happened. 

1 Comment

erin · November 7, 2011 at 6:10 am

So true, I have noticed this for sometime! I like your comparison though, and you phrase it very eloquently!

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