Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Kelley vs Halloween

Many of you that know me well are familiar with my aversion to Halloween. I didn't much like it as a kid, mainly b/c I was too self-conscious to draw attention to myself by wearing a costume. Now, as an adult, my main dislike is that it seems to be the only holiday that carries a negative connotation. Ever hear of a horror-movie-Valentine's Day-marathon? Haunted houses don't scare me, candy makes my tummy hurt, and I still look awkward in a costume.

But this year I finally realized that Fall is my favorite season. And with that, comes Halloween. I am therefore going to embark on a reconciliation with the Halloween holiday. I intend to find all the fun, good, happy things and make those my references and not the stupid media and it's demonic celebrations.

My first task is one that I wish to share with everyone. (This will come as no shock to my parents that I remember this). When I was in elementary school, Mrs. Benton, our music teacher, played us the same classical music piece every Halloween. I still remember very clearly having her turn out all the lights while we layed on the music room floor and she would explain to us exactly what was happening in the story that the music was telling. But of course, I couldn't remember the name of the song. I could still hear the music in my head so I figured I could eventually find it on the internet. And I did! This has remained one of my favorite Halloween memories to this day.

So this dear friends is the Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) by Camille Saint-Saens. It is based on a poem on a French superstition about Halloween.

Zig, zig, zig, Death in a cadence,
Striking with his heel a tomb,
Death at midnight plays a dance-tune,
Zig, zig, zig, on his violin.
The winter wind blows and the night is dark;
Moans are heard in the linden trees.
Through the gloom, white skeletons pass,
Running and leaping in their shrouds.
Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking,
The bones of the dancers are heard to crack—
But hist! of a sudden they quit the round,
They push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed.

According to the ancient superstition, "Death" appears at midnight every year on Halloween. Death has the power to call forth the dead from their graves to dance for him while he plays his fiddle (represented by a solo violin with its E-string tuned to an E-flat in an example of scordatura tuning). His skeletons dance for him until the first break of dawn, when they must return to their graves until the next year.


  1. Gosh, how old were you? That might have scared me. well, I understand what you mean on Halloween, we're celebrating creepyness, kinda funny. HOpe you learn to love it!! When you have kids you will love it, it's so fun to see them in their costumes and all the excitement!

  2. I don't remember you hating Halloween. I am going to be Anne of Avonlea then possibly dye my hair dark brown the next day. Are you going to dress up?

  3. Cool!! You could dye it green like Anne did when she tried to dye it "raven black". I have a party to go to and should probably dress up but I have no idea what I want to go as... i lack creativity in the Halloween department so if you think of anything good, let me know!!


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