Punctuation wrangler and orthographic enforcer, feminist, atheist, glutton, geek, scatterbrain, and Seattlite.
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  • Halloween Is Grinch Night

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    This is my favorite Halloween tradition. Since I was a tiny, I have watched the Dr. Seuss Halloween special, “Halloween Is Grinch Night” (1977), nearly every year. I feel intensely nostalgic when I watch it, but it’s undeniably worth watching at any age—for the first time or the six hundred and sixtieth time. It seriously freaked me out as a kid, but the more I grow up, the scarier it gets.

    From my experience of making everyone at Halloween parties watch it, “Grinch Night” is often overlooked and unknown. That’s sad because it’s a strange and fantastic cartoon and I love it. Also, it’s responsible for the line, “It’s a wonderful night for eyebrows.” It’s embedded from the youtubes below, so indulge yourself, and I want to hear your thoughts about it.

    As a kid, the highlight was, of course, the monster montage. I mean, it’s an excuse for Seuss to draw lots of monsters—what’s not to like? Two of them have always been creepiest, both static shots: the flashlight people and the black bird man. Nowadays its the scenes framing the “First-Class Grinching” that I appreciate. The scene before, where the Grinch invites Euchariah up to the Paraphernalia Wagon, always gives me chills. The eerie music adds to the buildup as Euchariah climbs those odd pegs that pop out of the wagon, and Euchariah’s willingness to be scared. I can’t help but watch that part wide-eyed and grinning.

    The other thing I love about this cartoon is the odd, respectful antagonism between Euchariah and the Grinch. Maybe it’s because the Grinch is the main character in his own right, which allows him more sympathy from the viewer. The way they talk to each other is so unlike what I’m used to seeing in kids’ shows. Of course they’re enemies, and it’s pretty clear who’s trying to hurt the other, but Euchariah faces the Grinch on a thoughtful, humanitarian level. If you’re at all familiar with Dr. Seuss’s work, you know that politics are just as important in his work as rhyming and bizarre creatures. The overtones in “Grinch Night” are pretty hard to miss, and more than likely you’ll see the Grinch as a stand-in for various people and movements throughout history. That makes it all the more peculiar to see Euchariah confronting the Grinch with (what I take to be) respect for the Grinch’s humanity, rather than demonizing him.

    When confronting the harmful words and actions of others, it’s important to hold onto the rights that make your society worth defending. That’s what Euchariah means to me.

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