You fools can keep your Christmas and your Thanksgiving and whatever other perfectly mediocre holiday you've decided is the greatest of them all. Halloween is where it's at. You know who agreed with me? 56 year-old mother and grandmother Lorna Johnson of the United Kingdom. When Lorna lost her 9-month battle with lung cancer, her children decided to honor her spirit of fun, whimsy, and self-identification as a "white witch" with a Halloween-themed funeral.
“My mum’s favourite time of year was Halloween. We always had parties, dressed up, decorated the house. The kids loved it, we loved it. It was something we always did," her son Neil said in an interview with The Guardian. "She would have been well up for it, it’s the type of person she was. She always wanted a party.”
Obviously you can't have a Halloween theme without costumes. So Johnson's daughters donned witches' hats. Neil dressed up as the Tasmanian Devil. He wore a Tasmanian Devil costume to his mother's funeral, you guys. That's not even the best part. The funeral director, Brett Houghton, led the service in a Darth Vader costume. The actual honest to god funeral director who, as far as I know, wasn't some random family friend who led the service, but a man who does this for a living. Who could, truthfully, tell grieving families in the future "We here at Co-op Funeralcare understand that this is a difficult time, and we would like to work with you to make this ceremony deeply meaningful as you mourn your loved one. For example, if you want me to dress up as Darth Vader to deliver the eulogy, that is absolutely something I could do and have done." Brett Houghton, you are a gentleman, a scholar, and a beautiful human being.
If my college course on death and burial practices taught me anything (and it taught me a lot), it's that funerary rites throughout history could get pretty weird. From the Pyramids to Viking funeral pyres to the ubiquitous practice in the US and Canada of embalming corpses, every culture has its own way to honor the dead. So in the grand scheme of things, a Halloweeny funeral in July with Taz in attendance really shouldn't strike us as so terribly bizarre. In fact, I honestly think this is the perfect funeral. Or at least it's up there among the more perfect memorial services I've heard of or imagined in my life. I think it's the mark of a life well lived (though cut tragically short) to be able to have people smile at your funeral. And if ever you could smile at a funeral, it would have to be one where a guy in a Beetlejuice costume was sitting next to you, right?
Rest in peace, Ms. Johnson. May your friends and family be comforted by fond and fun memories of you. It sounds to me like they have a lot.
Images: Lucasfilm; Giphy(2)