By George Goner (The Haunted Cabaret)
Not long ago, well within this generation's memory, Halloween had been reduced from a sacred ceremony, celebrated by our pagan ancestors, to a few doomed pumpkins on front porches, and a small number of sad-looking kids in Little Mermaid and Darth Vader costumes wandering around the neighborhoods looking for candy. Now, two decades later, Halloween has become both big business and a time for Satanic ritual sacrifice, a holiday celebrated with horror festivals, haunted houses and hayrides, and a creative resurgence for Alice Cooper.
How did all this happen in so short a time? One reason is that people always look for escapist solutions to real-world problems. This explains the resurgent interest in supernaturalism during times of war, plague, and economic upheaval. The major reason All Hallow's Eve has regained much of its ancient bite, however, is not economic but religious: the Evangelical Christian Community is responsible for restoring the sense of evil and mystery long missing from October 31st.
Haunted Cabaret listeners, and horror acolytes the world over (really one and the same when you stop to think about it!), must once again thank misguided Christians for encouraging our favorite pastime: scary, gory, sexy fun! Just as the dawn of speed metal and thrash music saw clueless moralists like Tipper Gore and Pat Robertson stick labels on CDs and make bands like Venom, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, and Cannibal Corpse bigger names than they ever could have become on their own, so they have once again worked their magic and elevated Black Masses, the subjects of demonology and witchcraft, and plastic Halloween decorations made in China to heretofore-unthought-of levels of public consumption. Fundamentalist Christians see unbelievers and pagans as the biggest obstacle to their cause, when the biggest problem is themselves.
This state of affairs is nothing new. Back in the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church was the first institution to set down the rules and procedures for a proper black mass. Their motive for doing so is still debated today. Until the Vatican codified Black Ritual, Satan worship was disorganized and unfocused, more a reaction to the Catholic Church's abuse of power than anything else. Today the Satanic faithful assemble in graveyards and mausoleums to kill the fatted goat and offer sacrifice to Baphomet (the church also helpfully named a few hundred demons along the way), and the media asks how anyone could do such a thing. The answer is simple: The Devil may make us do it, but the Devil didn't show us how. The Church Fathers get full credit for that, and they make sure they teach us all over again whenever we start to forget.