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A Prelude to Halloween

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I woke up in a nightmarish state recently, haunted by a news image of a bloodied, terrified Moammar Gaddafi being beaten and driven away to his brutal death. The image morphed to the eerily similar self-portrait of Michelangelo with flayed skin in his monumental Sistine Chapel fresco, The Last Judgment.

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Detail of Michelangelo's "The Last Judgement" (Sistine Chapel), between 1535 and 1541

I stumbled to the kitchen for a glass of milk to ward off the evil spirits. I prefer my demons in a slightly less anxiety-producing state, without the existential meltdown. All of which leads me to my favorite holiday, Halloween, that festive time of year where we dress up as whatever our imagination dictates to celebrate death, evil, monsters, and other inhabitants of the dark, freak-show side of life.

I've put together a few videos to help you get in the mood. Let's start with the most amazing pumpkin carvings I've ever seen, created by sculptor Ray Villafane.

This next video, Disney's 1929 "The Skeleton Dance," part of the Silly Symphonies series of cartoon shorts, is classic, early, black and white Disney animation. At the stroke of midnight four skeletons embark on a musical romp through a graveyard until a rooster's crow at dawn sends them scurrying back into their grave.

What would Halloween be without the costumes? This next video was produced by the Metropolitan Museum for its wildly popular Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition. McQueen often referred to himself as "the Edgar Allan Poe of fashion." He was certainly one of the most brilliant costumiers of our time.

Click here to see more MET videos of McQueen's runway shows.

Last, but not least, is a happy little Halloween song that my goddaughter recommended to me by actor, singer and comedian Steven Lynch.

Happy Halloween!

Cross-posted from Jane Chafin's Offramp Gallery Blog