If so, former Bush aide David Frum says, “Thank the gays.” He’s got a new piece about how the way Hallowe’en is celebrated today has little to do with its ancient origins, and a lot more to do with the way we gays adopted the holiday and turned it into something crazy fun:
To understand the global appeal of the Halloween holiday, go back to its origins. Those origins are found not in mystic Celtic folklore, but in modern gay culture.
As best we can tell: in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. In the 1970s, that neighborhood emerged as the heart of a new home-owning, bourgeois, coupled gay community. A local variety store had long sponsored a Halloween street festival for kids. In the 1970s, the street festival transitioned into an adult party of lavish costumed theatricality. The “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” — a troupe of transvestite nuns — got their start here.
The Castro Halloween party spread to other gay neighborhoods in the 1980s: Greenwich Village, West Hollywood, Key West, Florida. In 1994, University of Florida anthropologist Jerry Kugelmass published a book on the new trend, “Masked Culture,” describing Halloween as an emerging gay “high holiday.”
And after a while — the straights imitated.
The “masked culture” first developed by the gays of San Francisco has reached across the lines of orientation — and now jumped across the boundaries between nations and languages. It’s not just a party. It’s an ideal of personal emancipation, self-expression and self-fulfillment — an ideal that loses none of its power when it takes the form of a sexy nurse’s outfit.
The whole piece is fun. I’m sure more than one wingnut who has seen the piece has pursed its lips with anxiety over the fact that Republican David Frum wrote an article about how Hallowe’en is awesome now, due to gays.
So, what’d y’all do for Hallowe’en? Stay home? Take kids trick or treating? Dress up in elaborate costume and party?
Count me among the last category. MAYBE I will post a picture.