There’s nothing scarier than an election
Emily C. Skaftun
Norwegian American Weekly
In the next week, we’ll do a lot of scary things. Today is Halloween, our very American celebration of all things spooky. What are you going as?
Costumes tend to follow news and current events, to some degree. Expect your fair share of the perennial zombies and witches, and the “sexy” version of everything under the sun. We’ll have a gaggle of Elsas too, I assume; only the color scheme of the princess changes from year to year.
This year, I predict, will also bring variations on the “Ebola” costume. Too soon? Yes, definitely. But I’ll bet you we see them (whatever this looks like; I’m hoping it’s a life-sized version of that ubiquitous microscope virus shot). Because what’s scarier than that, right?
ISIL might make for a good costume; it certainly doesn’t look too hard to replicate their flag, and the rest of the getup can be had at your local surplus store. I don’t really recommend it, though. Some things are too scary, too real.
In fact, isn’t there quite a lot to be frightened of in the real world? I’d argue that Halloween is one day of the year when we should turn away from the horrors of current events and toward the horrors of ghouls and critters and things that go bump in the night.
Halloween is a holiday about fear, but it’s all about symbolic fear. With few exceptions, I’ve never looked at a costume and felt truly frightened. Repulsed, yes. Frightened, no. Because a five-foot-tall spider is ridiculous (while the inch-long ones in my house continue to be somewhat upsetting).
Halloween is a night to confront the straw-man versions of our fears, the ones that are so absurd that they lose their power.
But, if you want to so with something really scary, something from current events, let me make a suggestion: politicians. It doesn’t really matter which one; they’re all pretty scary. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we in the U.S. vote at the same time of year as Halloween. When else could we face the ballot box than in spooky November, having just steeled ourselves through a cathartic Halloween?
In all seriousness, though, don’t forget to vote next Tuesday. I know it’s only midterms, but most areas sneak some important stuff onto those ballots when they think we’re not looking (I told you they were scary!). Here in Seattle we’re voting on transit and gun control measures, among others. Uff da!
I don’t care how you vote (well, I do, but that’s a different story). Just vote.
Another scary thing that’s happening this weekend is the end of Daylight Savings Time. (Just to confuse everyone worldwide, this doesn’t all happen at once. Norway switched back to Standard Time last weekend). Goodbye, evening daylight. Hello, extra hour of sleep! Everyone be sure to set your clocks back one hour this Sunday at 2:00 a.m. If you don’t, you might be early for work on Monday morning, and that’s downright terrifying.
Happy Halloween, Election Day, and Daylight Savings, everyone!
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 31, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.