Surely it’s mostly an American thing that sort of trickled down... But that’s precisely it

No 8. Halloween

What are we skinning? Halloween

Why are we skinning it? It’s just passed us, so it’s certainly due a quick assessment, don’t you think?

Is Halloween even that much of a ‘thing’ in Malta? Surely it’s mostly an American thing that sort of trickled down... But that’s precisely it. We should talk about how these global trends make their way into Maltese society, and why?

Well, the analysis stops and starts with McDonalds, with me. That tells me all I need to know about what you’ve just said. That may be true in some ways. But I’ll play plastic-bemasked devil’s advocate this time: I believe Halloween deserves a fair shake and some time in the spotlight. Yes, even the Maltese one.

Some members of the clergy regularly urge us to take a more serious stance on Halloween. Is that the kind of thing you’re after? No, I don’t mean a shallow and overly-censorious approach that assumes the Catholic faith is a de facto objective reality, and that anything that appears to deviate from it is a heretical and toxic intrusion.

Then what is there to Halloween apart from sweets (or ‘candy’) and a cheap excuse to do Carnival during autumn-time? Well, for one, it celebrates the day of the dead. Culturally speaking, death remains taboo, even under the auspices of a seemingly death-and-resurrection obsessed religion like Roman Catholicism.

Are you seriously hoping to have some kind of discussion of comparative religious practice while looking straight ahead at a sea of ‘Tal-Lira’ bought plastic monster masks? Why not? Pop culture has a lot to teach us if we let it, and the horror genre has the kind of folksy roots whose lessons often contain multitudes.

And what can the Maltese population in particular possibly learn from the horror genre? The strongmen may not turn out to be the most resourceful. The girls will always be the ones who get the monster. And no matter how safe you feel, it always helps to look behind you.

Do say: “Halloween can be fun if it’s worst consumer excesses are kept in check, and if we step back to remember that it stands for a feast of the dead, and the dead are great at giving us perspective.”

Don’t say: “It’s just an excuse for slutty Carnival, right?”