As I write this, the Eastern United States is experiencing what they’re calling a ‘Monster storm’: a hurricane (Sandy) combined with a Winter storm. It has killed people in several states and, as the temperatures fall, the toll may increase for areas without power or with flooding. This year, most people probably won’t be giving a second thought to parading around for Halloween as a monster, just trying to pull their neighbourhoods back together.
While there are many, many examples of truly monstrous people in the world, I don’t think we give enough thought to the pleasant sort of monster; the made-up slightly cute and endearing characters popular in children’s television, children’s films and books (and another from my childhood!). Why are they cute and endearing (or, slightly gruesome yet endearing)? Because they are often innocent or silly, but almost always kind-hearted creatures who make us pause and think about our society and perhaps species. Monster media remind us to learn the lessons in life.
In negative news articles of true monsters, it is difficult to remember how amazing people can be but a focus on ‘pretend’ monsters can actually help us see the humanity around us. Usually, on Halloween I think about dreams and make believe, but this year’s ponder point is Monsters. How can we live more like the pleasant monsters that inspire us? Friendly, willing to learn, caring, kind and fun?
As a child, our dentist had a prize bucket that we could pick from when we were done our check-up. I remember friendship bracelets, stickers and random plastic things, but I remember the monsters most of all. My favourite prize was the little rubbery monsters that fit on a finger tip. I had a green one and a red one. At the age of two or so, I declared one of them ‘Ee-hee’ and the other one was ‘Ah-ru-hu’. In my family, we began to call them ‘eehees and ahruhus’. Although they are still hanging out in the US, I am going to spend this Halloween thinking about the good monsters ‘in’ our world and how they remind us to learn from the world around us.