All Hallow’s Eve: Donning masks to shed them
Deciduous trees shed their leaves to procreate, put organic material in the soil surrounding them, and to save themselves from the extra weight of winter snow. Interestingly enough, human beings (supposedly the smarter of the two) do exactly the opposite: we don masks to procreate, that which we shed rarely fertilizes the soil, and no human has survived winter by standing naked in the face of its force.
This Friday is Halloween, the night on which our European ancestors donned masks to scare away evil spirits. On Friday night, I, and a lot of people I know, will don masks to ingest evil spirits. Halloween is a night of fantasies: those that give us pleasure and those that frighten us to the core of our being.
Masks, we all wear them, and usually not on Halloween. The masks we wear on Halloween are the cheap, plastic variety we employ to countermand the very real and serious ones we wear daily.
Passion is allowed to run wild when anonymity is in play. Rare are the nights when we are allowed to be anonymous; society doesn’t condone it. Licenses, passes, and permits are the order of the day and the documents of our lives. As far as the government is concerned, I am not a face; I am a series of interlinked numbers that tell the story of my life, a sentient barcode.
As we live our lives, whether we are conscious of it or not, we don several masks. Though deceptively passive, so repressive is the system that our only means our maintaining the self is to hide it from everyone, hence the masks. Halloween allows us to regain some sense of the anonymity we crave. By pretending to be someone else, whether we are seeking pleasure or exorcising our fears, we live free for a night. Even if that “someone else’ is who we truly are.