• W. Stendahl

Mayor's Sunday Séance for 4/1/2022 - Trick or Treating Part 1

Everyone is welcome at Sundown and to partake in Trick or Treating, even if you are a Werewolf!

Audio Version:

Mayor's Sunday Séance for 4/1/2022 - Trick or Treating Part 1

Good Evening Beloved Sundown Citizens.

What most fail to see is that Halloween brings more communities together for one night than any other day of the year. Thanksgiving is supposed to bring thanks, but oftentimes only brings tight knit families together and separates them from the world for a day, as they hide in their tucked away kitchens and living rooms, sharing secrets and stories in which only privileged members can partake.

Christmas divides communities, putting the spotlight on anyone different, anyone who does not celebrate Christ’s birth, and shuns them from activities. I remember several children in the warm elementary classrooms of my youth, who for one reason or another would not participate in the gift exchanges and joys of the holiday, and would be made fun of for not believing in “Christmas”. When asked why, they often would just say, “My family does not celebrate Christmas.” This left many of our curiosities shrouded in an impenetrable veil of mystery, though by the look of many of the outcasted children’s faces, they wondered why at an even deeper level than those around them who fit the “normal” societal traditions.

July 4th, Easter, Memorial Day, Valentine’s Day – They all chastise and separate, split and shatter.

But Halloween is for everyone. It does not shun. It does not require belief. It simply embraces every living soul…and even those who have moved on to the next level. All are truly welcome to run into its wide-open arms and feel the safety of the magical holiday.

Safety? Yes, that’s right. On a night when those who choose to not celebrate the holiday claim it is the most dangerous night of the year, we actually greet the greatest love found throughout the year. Due to the holiday not separating a community, there is no need for divisive behavior, violent outbursts to prove one side is more right than the other, or dark actions taken out of frustrated class differences. Instead, Halloween whispers in everyone’s ear that this is the one night they can be their true identities and not be pushed to the side or unseen (unless you want to be).

Are you poor? No problem. Find a sheet, cut some holes in it, and magically you are a ghost, capable of dancing, hollering, or sneaking up on unsuspecting citizens. Grab a pillow case and you are able to partake in all of the fearful festivities, sugary treats, and deliciously dark activities for the night.

Are you shy? No problem. Hide behind a devilish mask and you can let your inner self shine with no fear of being identified, ridiculed, or embarrassed. Stutter? Now you can yell and scream. Glasses? Behind a mask, no one can tell. Too skinny, tall, fat, short, acne, wheelchair? All vanished for the night thanks to a well-designed costume. Dead? Come back and play with the living on this glorious night and you will fit right in with the breathing.

Halloween puts everyone on the same plane of existence, existing to allow true release of the internal madness, pent up smiles and laughs, ranting sadness, and mental middle fingers we give to the world on a minute-by-minute magnitude. No matter who you are, all are invited to release in joy with jumps and bobs, skips and howls.

And howl is exactly what I did back in 1989. I had one of my hardest years in school, being made fun of on a daily basis for being the new kid, too skinny, poor, and anything else kids could find on me to squeeze out another laugh. I needed release. Halloween sent me an invitation to its party, and the world was the address. I remember running between houses in an attempt to get as much candy as I possibly could, not only for my own tongue, which had gone into a sugar drought due to my family struggling economically, but also for my entire family. My sister achieved the age of knowing the greatness of sweetness. My cousins had moved out to South Dakota to try and make it in the Wild West with the rest of my family – they struggled as well. Everyone looked at me as I left that early evening with sweet hopes on their famished faces, Halloween hopes. I would not let them down.

Returning with almost a full pillow case of candy, I remember pouring the candy onto the family dining room table and everyone diving into the pile of plush and pillowy goodness. The laughter, the smiles, and the love that was shared around the table that night gave all of us sweet release, which was not only provided by me running endlessly this so-called dark night, but by all of the community that gave for giving sake. The community had provided this love and laughter, and each member did the same around their own tables this giving night. That love lasts to this day in my memories.

But there was a greater release for me that night. As I was finishing up gathering as many treats as I could from the neighborhood and visited the last house for the night, I just happened to look up into the 9 o’clock sky through the small eye holes in my werewolf mask, which I had used for Halloween the past three years. There was the moon in all of its glory, beaming through the misty clouds, which were starting to drop crystalized water molecules upon my three-layered clothing. It whispered into my mind, letting me know it was time to truly release. I stopped in the middle of the cold, paved suburban road, stretched my body to its greatest height, inhaled the intoxicating autumn air, and…howled!

As the sounds billowed far and wide, echoing in the ravines of the Black Hills for hundreds of miles, I realized I wasn’t only a werewolf for that one particularly glorious night. I was a werewolf inside every second of every day. I was strong, courageous, and had meaning. I would be noticed. I would be feared. I would fight. Most importantly, I would make it through whatever I was going through at any time. I was a wolf.

After the howl, my head fell to my chest, I breathed deeper and stronger, slower and confident…"Welcome home," whispered Halloween in my ear.

Goodnight to all of you, no matter where you are!

Signed Sincerely,

W. Stendahl

Mayor of Sundown

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