Ghoul, calm and collected

Charles Cowling

For a death-averse people who shut their eyes tight to mortality, the Halloween look is not a good look. But children thrill to it; caring parents wickedly, gigglingly co-conspire.  Much of the imagery is so graphically horrifying I’d have thought it would reduce children (and some adults) to lasting gibbering mental breakdown. But it doesn’t. May we infer that most people do actually have a far more sophisticated and fully assimilated comprehension of death than  they are customarily credited with? And that Halloween teaches children more about death than we think?

If so, you will enjoy this delicious recipe for sugar skulls from the excellent Skull-A-Day.

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11 years ago

I agree, DM, and I think ‘cartoonizing’ death can hardly make it more real. Not sure about the compensating for oversanitizing point – it seems to me that both are a way of unrealizing it.

I’ze finished izeizing now.

Death Matters
11 years ago

Quite the opposite, Charles. This shows that we understand the implications of death less than ever. You’ve read my own take on death awareness (“Medicine for Life”) This kind of blood and guts is a reflection of insensitivity and ignorance as to what death really means to a human being. I guarantee you this kind of imagery is not as popular in Baghdad or on the streets of India, where it must be partly redundant and partly abhorrent. As I’ve said elsewhere, there could also be kind of automatic compensation acting here – our psyches try to recreate a… Read more »