Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Treats - Sleepy Hollow

One of my earliest memories of Halloween involved watching the classic Walt Disney Sleepy Hollow cartoon. Only a few years later did I discover the actual story by Washington Irving. I read it when I was probably 9 or 10 and I absolutely loved it.

The story and the cartoon, or at least the last ten minutes or so of the cartoon, captured the fear and shiver-inducing terror of a spooky, dark Halloween night and featured one of the most iconic ghosts ever created.

The Headless Horseman is such a deliciously incredible and visual character, and Irving's description of it and poor Ichabod's journey home from the Van Tassels is exquisitely creepy.

Many of the things that come to mind when one thinks of Halloween can be traced back to Irving's story. American's love of Halloween is really a very recent thing. We only fully started celebrating Halloween in the mid-1920's. Before that, it was a Pagan holiday only celebrated by poor Irish peasants. The thing is, we have a tradition of being scared, and that tradition can be traced to the works of Washington Irving, or Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, the oral history and tradition of fable has permeated our culture even longer that that.

The Headless Horseman can be traced to German fables, and the imagery of jack-o-lanterns comes from turnips with candles that the Irish used to ward off the evil spirits that could reach across the barrier between our world and the world of the dead on Samhain. The mixing pot of American ethnicity and immigrants has commingled and created a holiday that is unique and very pleasing to the likes of old Doctor Zombie.

Headless Horsemen; lonely, spooky roads; cold, creepy autumn nights; and moody, dark stories about Halloween tricks? Yep, this has something for EVERYBODY!

Just recently, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp got together and made a version for the big screen that is mandatory viewing in Doctor Z's house at Halloween. Believe it or not Wolf Girl loves it and we've already watched it twice this Halloween season!

So, in honor of the season, here's an online copies of Sleepy Hollow in multiple formats so ANYBODY can read it and check out below for the full cartoon!

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