The effect of television’s portrayal of Halloween’s traditions and tales is a perpetuation of a holiday that might otherwise have waned with the religion that hijacked it.
It is quite difficult, at even the best of times, to overlook the massive effect that television has had on the world, the ubiquitous box in the corner that burbles at us daily with everything from the news to actual information we might want to know, it is unsurpassed since the invention of the printing press in its pronounced effect. It is therefore unsurprising that television has an effect on not just our culture, but the icons and events of that culture, Halloween by no means alone.
The Spirit Of Halloween Is Television
• Halloween specials program our attitudes
• Television seen as safer for kids than mobile casinos
• Social acceptance of superstition through science
The television is only now beginning to become extinct as uber-fast data transfer speeds start to allow the internet to rival through-air-transmission for ease of use and alacrity of signal, but its death throws are likely to last a while yet and somewhere near you even now a television may be on, unheeded but still going. Often it is treated as a window, just a frame with pictures, perhaps some sound, as a background to what we’re doing.
It must be clearly understood that as you sit there trying to figure out the GoWild Halloween Mystery over at GoWild Casino the television on in the background is still having an effect on the culture you exist in regardless of whether you’re paying attention to it or not. The portrayal of characters and events on television can set up societies attitudes to them in such a short space of time it leaves propagandists breathless. Halloween has had the TV treatment for years.
If you were gambling news of the TV schedules for this Halloween were to announce a lack of “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” you’d be very much mistaken. Aired repeatedly (annually of course) since 1966 this animated tale from the Peanuts cast is one of the bedrock basics for the continued attitude to Halloween we all enjoy. As if the modern era traditions were set in stone because they’d been crudely drawn on cellulose.
Oh Good Grief
Unlike the cinema television is the preserve of children. Oh certainly the make the odd show aimed at someone with a mental age slightly in excess of six years old, but they are few and far between, and which of us has the time to watch but a fraction of the output? Children on the other had get school vacations and actual “free time” (a myth in the adult world) and are often encouraged to settle before the altar of consumerist information, the television.
Certainly some would say the internet now vies for their attention, but adults are constantly warned that a child left alone with a computer connected to the internet will, in under five minutes, have been accosted by stalky pedophiles, published nude photos of themselves, lost the family fortune at an online casino in Malta and hacked the central servers of the NSA. Television is, therefore, still seen by many as a “safe” option.
Thus it is that television plays a massive part in our formative years and our attitudes towards everything from politics to personal hygiene. Halloween, if thought about rationally for even but a few minutes, is a rather ridiculous silliness anachronistically hanging around from a time when superstition was the norm not the nutty. However the normality of it and the beliefs thereof in culturally significant (to children) television perpetuates it as being okay and not at all insane.
The age of science not only provided the reason to cease believing in such inane rubbish, but then provided the most effective vehicle to provide reason for our continuing to tacitly agree to do so in the shape of that ever weight-shedding beast, the television. Both debunker and disseminator of the self-same myth television has formed Halloween in the minds of many who would otherwise have had very little clue about it.
Halloween Haunts The Schedules
The supernatural, of course, has long been a part of fairy stories, myths, legends and tall tales, but despite this televisions ability to communicate these surpasses even the greatest performer on the stage, bringing them to a wider audience in a far more accessible manner than even the most drunken Celtic reveller of the 10th century could have envisioned, and from the outset the leveraging of Halloween has been a medium-wide theme.
There isn’t a tv show or series that hasn’t done a Halloween special of some variety, from the Simpsons to Psych there’s a tendency for any show that has made it into a second season to do a Halloween-specific storyline or episode. Whilst easily dismissed as a lazy script writers dream the cumulative effects of this constant reinforcement of the socially acceptable norm on a very specific date and subject has a definite effect.
From the still entirely watchable “Bewitched” through to “Sabrina The Teenage Witch” there has been a shift towards the supernatural more frequently used in terms and circumstances with which children can more readily identify. The religious objections are still voiced, but given Christianity’s subsuming of Halloween they are, thankfully, more often laughed off than not, however the concrete manner in which this holiday of the dead is ingrained by television guarantees its perpetuation.
That this carries over into our adulthood is unquestionable. The cinema is awash with Halloween releases, online gambling sites in Malta use it as a motif for their games, and our own indulgence of children in their desire to both dress up, and eat unfathomable amounts of candy has no basis in sensible judgment but is merely our own pre-programmed acceptance of a social throwback that would without television have perished on the anvil of the modern world.