Celebrating the Spooky Season

5 Nov 2013

What is it about Halloween and Bonfire Night that so perfectly capture that autumnal feeling? Is it that both holidays involving spending long periods of time outside in the gathering darkness and crisp, not-quite-winter air? Or is it the food? We eat sweets and grilled sausages at other times of the year, but somehow they seem to suit the spooky season.

Both Halloween and Bonfire Night have a particular chill about them, and it’s not just the changing season. They’re both macabre celebrations, Halloween an echo of an older holiday that seeks to remind its celebrants of death and Bonfire Night a celebration of both a thwarted attack and the execution of the would-be attackers. Why do we celebrate such grisly holidays? It can’t be a coincidence that both take place at the time of year when the night is starting to steal more and more hours from the day.

I know that Bonfire Night is a commemoration of an actual historical event. But why do we remember the day of the attempted attack, but not the execution itself, which took place on 31 January? And why that attack? We don’t sit outside drinking hot chocolate on 15 August to remember when Anthony Babington and his co-conspirators were arrested in 1586 following their participation in a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. Or shoot off fireworks to commemorate the first battle of the War of the Roses, which took place on 22 May 1455, or the final battle at Bosworth Field, 22 August 1485. So why Guy Fawkes?

I suspect that it’s all about this slightly spooky and a little bit sad time of year. It’s dark and cold. We all know that the summer sunshine (or at least warm rain) is behind us and the long, cold winter is looming ahead of us. I think we need a reason to gather together and thumb our noses at the changing season. Standing outside to beg for sweets or watch a fire burn down to its embers is a great way to show that we don’t care if it’s getting cold and dark, we can still have fun like we did in the summer.

I’ve been trying to think of a way to link all of this back to CRM. I could talk about how achieving a successful holiday celebration is all about planning. Or about how productivity in the workplace can lead to more time at home to appreciate fun holidays like Halloween or Bonfire Night. But they felt a bit forced. I guess that’s the bonus of writing a blog post on a holiday. You can focus on the holiday itself and think about work later. Which, again, is really what a holiday, autumnal or otherwise, is all about: thinking about something outside of your normal life and doing something fun, no matter what the weather.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween last week and has a fun Bonfire Night tonight!