|Jamie Wyeth_"Self Portrait as Pumpkin Head"|
It is a season of many marvels and wonders; of macabre and timeless tales. The season to dream, to celebrate, to scare is now. Oh autumn! Oh Halloween! You are a joy to all. Certainly your sounds, tastes, climate and aromas are distinct. For many you are the best of seasons and Halloween the best of holidays. Who could argue as the grand masquerade begins in defense of any other. We enjoy it in both its strangeness and its familiar. We truly enjoy as we shiver from the spooky and the chilling in the air.
It is the images of Halloween that stand out in our minds, the visual. The first thought of Halloween is always a visual thing and every-thing is possible. As long as we dream it is the autumnal that ignites like no other. The imagination runs free as we look outward and ultimately express the inner self. Whether witch or warlock, devil or angel, lycanthrope, vampire or Frankenstein’s Monster. We can be whatever we choose on Halloween Day as long as we play in the cherished charade.
If it were possible to sum up the spirit and wonder of Halloween in a single tale Washington Irving’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” would probably be the one. It possesses every element of the season. The image of the Headless Horseman is among the most striking in fiction. The Hessian soldier in search of a replacement for his own cannonball removed dome haunts our psyche.
The mystery, fun and thrill of the prank are within Irving’s words. It has been read and told for generations and lives on with no loss of charm. It has inspired films, plays and songs. The above Nineteenth Century painting captures the dilemma of the story’s protagonist; Ichabod Crane, precisely. Enjoy the image and enjoy your haunting this Halloween.