Halloween and the Gentleman. “What could possibly link the two?”, I hear you cry. “You are just trying to set up a tenuous link to write a post about something for this Halloween week.” We are indeed going to cover the Origins of the Holiday, some Halloween Etiquette and even Gentlemanly Fancy Dress. So what possibly could #1PG write about that links this “holiday” associated with remembering the dead? It is a good question and my answer falls into three parts, so here we go…
The Origins of both the Christian ‘All Hallows Eve’ and the Pagan and Gaelic ‘Samhain’ are both about respecting the dead and the end of the harvest season and the start of winter proper. It is about reflecting on the past and preparing to survive the Winter. At The Perfect Gentleman, we always talk about respect and looking backwards to move forwards. Respecting, indeed celebrating the dead and our ancestors and learning the lessons from them to see us through the dark days of winter ahead. That certainly resonates with our Gentlemanly ethos.
Personally, I really love the whole day and experience. It brings back great memories, as a young man I had a great many American friends and lived in an area that had a great many american families who brought a passion for Halloween that really did not exist in the UK at the time. It was certainly celebrated, but not as heartily as it is now. So, I was introduced as a young man to the joys of ‘Trick or Treating’. Indeed, I enjoyed it so much that one year when I did not have a costume, my friend and I dressed in our black suits and wore sunglasses and borrowed our father’s hats and pretended to be the ‘Blues Brothers’, we even arranged a little song and dance number when people opened the door. We had a very successful year! It was fun and made me smile, indeed later in life I was roped in to sing as the front person of a Band at a Halloween party; my only ever paid for singing experience, and singing ‘The Monster Mash’ to 100 people in full costume will stick with me forever. It reminds me that as a Gentleman, you must find joy and embrace experience, no matter what it is.
For all its otherworldly and macabre overtures, Halloween has become a time for families, friends and communities. Families gather to dress up and prepare for the ‘Trick or Treaters’ either going or receiving. They decorate the house, carve Jack O’Lanterns and do things together. Communities come together via this blatant scavenge for candy/sweets, not only through walking around knocking on doors but also through parties, bonfires and other group activities. That is certainly true of friends; they gather to tell stories, play pranks, attend parties, dress up and generally enjoy each other’s company. It is about gathering together to deal with the approaching winter and the harshness that can come with this dark season. But when we gather together in the flickering light of a bonfire’s flame, we can as a group conquer those fears.
Yes, it was a pretty tenuous article but I hope that this Halloween you show respect to the past, embrace life and experiences and enjoy your time with your family, friends and the wider world.
Next year, we will throw a Gentlemanly costume party….are you coming?
Be scarily good,