The Eighth Page

What You Didn’t Know About Halloween

Halloween. It’s a national holiday among the likes of Palm Sunday, Ramadan, and Rosh Hashanah. Children across the nation celebrate by donning costumes of their idols and heroes (John Stamos, Mr. Clean, Lou Dobbs, post-rehab, pre-divorce David Duchovny, etc.). They go from home to home in their neighborhoods collecting bags of candy and fresh, oddly-sliced apples, before returning home to survey their loot and devour their treats as quickly as they can. Now, some may attribute the activities of the night of October 31st to the old pagan holiday of All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day. However, upon further historical investigation in my 6th grade “History Alive!” textbook, I have found this assertion to be completely and utterly false. Pagans are like Lutherans, right? Right. Some scholars of ghoulish tradition say that observance of Halloween began in Norway in the summer of the year 1274, when a young boy was found in his room trying on his mother’s bonnets and shawls. Needless to say, the boy’s father was mortified by his son’s display of sissyness and bi-curious exploration. Granted, the event wasn’t just a family matter, but one of serious legal ramifications (the Norwegian King Hans Palin had outlawed such behavior in 1268). Out of fear for his son’s future, the father, a cheese-maker of modest means, decided to take fair and wise measures to make sure that the boy would never again do such a thing. He decided that all members of the household would call the kid “Wiener” until he changed his habits. It was on October 31st, 1278, that the boy put on his mother’s clothes for the final time, emotionally broken by hearing the words “Hello, Weiner” every time he entered a room. Due to the evolution of language, and of what I imagine a Norwegian accent sounds like, “Hallo, Weener” eventually morphed into our modern-day “Halloween.” Perhaps this seems like an unlikely way for an American holiday to originate. The following are a series of rebuttals to your inevitable, Andover-educated objections: 1. Skittles weren’t invented until the late 1400s. Neither were Reese’s cups. 2. The Norwegian` family in question was highly influential in the community. And when I said that the father was a cheese-maker, I meant to say that he wrote self-help books. 3. Of course Sarah Palin is of Norwegian decent. Have you seen her pant suits? Cheap like an IKEA sofa. If you still don’t believe my tale, read a goddamn book.