I'm not sure when Halloween went from one night to a whole season, but I'm not complaining. I love spending all of October listening to Rob Zombie and Misfits (more-so than usual) and drawing skulls in my sketchbooks (again, more than usual). I don't even need a costume to enjoy the anything-goes, creepy-is-cool vibe of this holiday.
This year, however, if you're finding it difficult to get in the spirit, I get it. It's tough to celebrate the season of scary when real life reads like a dystopian novel. And not even a really good one ... it's like the author is trying to cram too much in. Murder hornets? Was that really essential to the plot? Focus!
One thing that's been dragging me down this year is my son's disappointment over skipping traditional trick-or-treating. I hate that he won't be going door to door collecting candy with his friends. We've come up with a safer alternative for him, but I know it won't be the same, and that bums me out. A lot.
One thing that's helped has been art. My printmaking group, Bluegrass Printmakers, hosts an annual Halloween event called All Hallows Ink. Sadly, we couldn't set up in the studio this year, but we did put on a virtual gallery. I had fun carving this skull and scorpion piece and experimenting with background colors. Finally finding a use for that bottle of hot pink ink was a nice bonus. I love the way it works with the black (maybe that stems from my childhood fandom of Bret "The Hitman" Hart). Viewing the wide range of styles from the gallery's other artists has been inspirational, and the process of creating this print was a fun diversion from reality.
If you're struggling to get into a celebratory mood this year, that's quite all right. If you're not feeling it, don't force it. But if you are looking for a boost, I recommend art. There's no shortage of seasonal images on Instagram. Start with the work of people like Alex Pardee or Tim Baron. Better yet, make something of your own, even if it's just a doodle that no one but you will ever see. Just have fun with it. It won't make any problems go away, but a bit of distraction can help clear the mind for a while. Art and Halloween are two good places to find that distraction to help us through.
Here's a playlist of Halloween rock to crank this weekend. Enjoy!