Halloween or not, my partner Sara and I have long called our basement the “dungeon.” Dark, damp, and dirt-floored, it’s one place in our house we’ve tried to avoid—a space only the seriously undead would want to endure on any remotely regular basis.
So when I returned from Pennsylvania this weekend to find our cellar transformed by Sara’s new found fascination with graffiti, I couldn’t decide for a moment if this was trick or treat—street art alive and well on the walls of our basement or some sad graffiti-ed commentary meant merely to mask the grit, grime, and ugly that had been our dearly departed dungeon.
Having gathered family stories that have haunted me for decades and survived the earliest winter snow storm Pennsylvania has seen in nearly a century, I’ll let you be the judge.
While I was gone on a memoir, fact-finding mission, Sara, along with my nephew Drew, covered the dirt floor with pea gravel, sorted the junk, and left the walls Halloween-ing a new, street-art-inspired look:
Yesterday, Sara even got me in on the graffiti transformation:
Just as Halloween is a great equalizer, reminding the living how they’re haunted by death, so graffiti brings art out onto the street and into the gutters, to ordinary people who might never darken the doorway of a gallery or museum. Though Halloween has long been associated with vandalism, graphic or otherwise, the street art revolution has elevated the tagging of city streets to, perhaps, the most exciting and powerful movement the art world has seen in centuries.
Perhaps, it’s this that Sara has brought to our “dungeon” in time for the Halloween holiday, masking what we’d deemed terminally ugly with the stunning studio of graffiti-ed streets.