When the fog comes drifting in like a malignant spectre, creeping through the skeletal branches which claw like fingers at the moon, we all get that familiar frisson of fear. Of course, that wonderful chilly excitement quickens our step as the dead, fallen leaves (crisped and sere) skitter across our shoes. Warm feelings of the shuddering creeps come upon us once again from the depths of childhood memory. Was there really a child-eating monster lurking in the nearby woods, down that dark and deserted dead-end street, or even under that suspiciously LARGE pile of raked leaves? When we were young, we thought there actually might be! Not with actual dread, of course, but only with a delicious, fun fear. That grinning, glowing jack o'lantern seemed to know what was in store for us as it sat sentry on a neighborhood porch; spilling its orange light across the lawn. But who (or what) lurked behind those black and empty windows?!?
No matter how old we grow, the magic and mystery of Halloween must be rekindled among our family and friends. The joy of living comes from realizing the alternative. Those zombies shambling across a Pittsburgh field are coming to tell us something: live life to its fullest, embrace all the fun and mystery monsters represent . . . because time passes and it'll be over before you know it. While you're still here, don't just shamble from job to home and back again; that's what zombies do . . . and they don't look like they're having much fun.
The terror tale has existed as long as humankind and it is our job to keep it alive and kicking (and crawling and creeping). Share the love of the horror genre with those you care about. Especially the young. Read to them tales you loved hearing as a child. Spark the imagination in them before the endless numbing influence of "popular culture" transforms them into boring zombies themselves and maybe, just maybe, you'll snatch them from the insipid clutches of Lindsay Lohan and into the magical embrace of Lovecraft, Lewton and Lugosi.
My mother taught me to read on Edgar Allan Poe and August Derleth's "The Lonesome Place". My imagination has been soaring ever since. The ghosts and goblins are lurking outside our windows, the vampires scratch their fingernails at the glass, in order to make us look at ourselves and ask the question: "Are you sleepwalking through life or are you awake to the mystery and firing those synapses?" The human brain is a mystical, marvelous thing; just ask Victor Frankenstein -- he's handled enough of them. And, like the good doctor, we all must zap some lightning into our brains now and then . . . and the monsters of Halloween are waiting to show us the way.