Wonderfully well-written, outrageous, and provocative.” —Booklist.
“Entertaining … and scholarly … Like a bag of Halloween candy, the book is a lot of fun.” — Boston Globe.
“Fans of cultural history will devour each chapter … like a toothsome treat.” — Christian Science Monitor.
Acclaimed cultural critic David J. Skal explores one of America’s most perplexingly popular holidays in this original mix of personal anecdotes and social analysis. Skal traces Halloween’s evolution from its dark Celtic history and quaint, small-scale celebrations to its emergence as mammoth seasonal marketing event.
Skal takes readers on a cross-country survey that covers remarkably divergent perspectives, from the merchants who welcome a money-making opportunity that’s second only to Christmas to fundamentalists who decry Halloween a form of blasphemy and practicing witches who embrace it as a holy day. He also profiles individuals who revel in this once-a-year occasion to participate in elaborate fantasies. Their narratives, combined with the author’s cultural analysis, offer a revealing look at an intriguing aspect of our national psyche.
Parts of this one I found fascinating. Other parts bored me to tears. I enjoyed the history of Halloween, Jack-o-Lanterns, Haunted Houses etc Sometimes though the author would go off on these tangents about gay rights, or 9/11 which he connects to Halloween by the thinnest of strings.
I was also unaware that this book is over a decade old and had been out of print for 13 years. I assumed I was getting a recently published (or soon to be published) book. I guess that is more my fault for not checking out this title more thoroughly before I requested it.
Overall though, a fairly interesting read.