Halloween. Witches and goblins and ghouls, oh my! If any holiday attracts more attention to certain aspects of fantasy, or causes more confusion about fantasy, I certainly cannot think of it. The various scary and creepy things of Halloween are often lifted straight from the pages of fantasy works. There is also a tendency to twist what is lifted, to sex it up a bit or to give it horrifying qualities the original did not have. It is thanks largely to Halloween, however, that so many people across the United States can immediately conjure up images of those commonplace fantasy characters, witches and goblins and the like.
The problem is that those images are all too often nothing like the fantasy characters that they are generated from. Take for instance the goblin. What is a goblin? Chances are you gave one of two answers: a short, ugly bipedal creature that specializes in small mischief, or one of several tribes of orc that live in the mountains north of Mordor. There are other definitions, of course, but these two represent the Halloweenization of goblin and Tolkien