Halloween isn’t one of my favourite ‘celebrations’. I grew up in small Malaysian towns in the 70s and 80s, and may have come across trick-or-treating and costume parties in American sitcoms, but these practices never appealed to me. Back then, I was still a practising Roman Catholic, and 31st October was just the day before All Saints’ Day, a day of obligation (mass was a must). The day after All Saints’ was All Souls’ Day, which was when we would visit my grandfather’s grave and pull up the weeds that had taken root since our last visit (probably in early April, which is when the Chinese community visit the graves of their ancestors).
These days, Halloween means my children donning fancy dress and watching horror films. This is still happening this year, but at home, thanks to lockdown.
I joined in once with one of those hairbands that make you look like you have a knife through your head, but have no costume planned this year. I will, however, be joining a Halloween book discussion — only because the book is Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones.
Witch Week, I’ve just discovered, is also an annual bookish event started by Lory of Emerald City Book Review to celebrate fantasy books and authors. This year (its seventh), it’s co-hosted by Chris and Lizzie, mostly over at Lizzie’s blog.
The theme for 2020 is Gothick and and here’s the schedule:
Day 1: 31st October, Halloween
A tour of castles and towers featured in 200 years of gothic literature.
Day 2: 1st November, All Saints’ Day
Visiting Italy via Alessandro Manzoni’s 19th century gothic romance, The Betrothed.
Day 3: 2nd November, All Soul’s Day
An in-depth discussion of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
Day 4: 3rd November
The collected stories of M. R. James.
Day 5: 4th November
Modern gothic YA fantasy that features creepy puppets: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz.
Day 6: 5th November, Guy Fawkes’ Day (Bonfire Night)
A review of Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s 2020 best-seller Mexican Gothic.
Day 7: 6th November
A wrap-up post and a reveal of the theme for Witch Week 2021.
Do check this post for more details. I’m looking forward to Witch Week. I guess, from now on, Halloween will be something to look forward to after all.