moana lisa

Moana Lisa

The above image is part of a Halloween display in a local supermarket. I assume the portrait is called ‘Moana Lisa’, well it is in my imagination!

What you can’t tell from this shot is that this aisle had its own sound effects: coffin doors creaking, chains clattering and screams. When I was on the other side of the section the eerie caterwauling seeped through the canned goods and was somewhat disquieting, which made me grin. It was better than the usual muzak.

It should not come as a surprise that I like Halloween, or Samhain, as it’s known here. I have great memories of the holiday as a child, and I think that’s because it’s a time when adults are allowed to act silly, and kids are encouraged to play games, dress up and eat lots of sweets. Plus, it’s a spooky time of the year, which certainly appeals to me. I was a horror junkie from an early age.

There was an old, neglected cemetery within a short walk of my childhood home, which had an avenue of big yew trees, tumbled down stone ruins, broken graves and vaults dating back hundreds of years. It was a place I used to go to walk our dog on a regular basis, and I went there at night sometimes, because I was that kind of kid.

I visited it most Halloween nights. Nothing ever happened. No ghost floated up or skeletons clattered out of tombs, and that was disappointing. I was a child desperate for adventure.

To a certain extent I was trying to freak myself out too, but that rarely happened. Instead, I have good memories of strolling through the quiet graveyard on cold, crisp nights, followed by numbing my bum on chilly stone and pondering the lives of the people who were bones beneath the clay.

It was a peaceful place. The dead were good company, silent but attentive. There was a sort of denseness to the air, as if the deceased clustered close, listening and watching, but unable to touch or communicate.

Or perhaps it was just fog and cobwebs dissolving against my cheek.