The plot of the 2001 cinema classic Serendipity revolves around two selfish idiots who have trouble distinguishing between coincidence and fate, who spend years in dead relationships with perfectly nice partners pining after each other despite having spent approximately 15 minutes together talking about Philosophy 101. It's a perfect bad romcom, I will watch it anytime I stumble upon it on TV, and it includes this line said by Jeremy Piven's generic "romcom best friend" character: "Life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences, but rather, it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan."
That was the first thing I thought of when I realized what is happening this weekend: for the first time since 1944, there will be a rare Blue Moon on Halloween eve. This comes the same week that NASA announced that the moon is much wetter than we ever realized. That will coincide with the end of Daylight Saving Time, which ushers in eternal darkness starting at 4:30 p.m. everyday for the next four months. According to my estimations, both these things will be in full alignment exactly when The Strokes take the stage for their first song as musical guests on Saturday Night Live. And all of this is taking place during a pandemic which has essentially shutdown all of the normal NYC Halloween celebrations, rituals and party-hopping plans—and just a few days away from the most consequential election of our lifetimes.
If that is not a sign of an exquisite, sublime plan, I don't know what is.
The full moon will be out on Halloween, which in and of itself is pretty spook-tacular. But this is the second such full moon of the month—the first came at the very start of October—which is what makes this a Blue Moon. And this is the first full moon to fall on Halloween in 76 years.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac., the next full moon to fall on a Halloween worldwide is expected in 2077. (For those keeping track of these things, the last time we had a Blue Moon was March 31st, 2018; the next time there'll be one is August 22nd, 2021.)
As astronomers have noted, the moon likely won’t actually look blue on Saturday evening, unless you take a photo of it with a special filter. But there will be a bright red object nearby: Mars. So there's a chance it may appear closer to red in hue than blue. But that does not make it a Blood Moon—that only happens when there's a total lunar eclipse.
Scientists would have you believe that “there is no significance to the blue moon — none at all,” as Sarah Noble, a lunar scientist at NASA, told the NY Times. “It is a folklore thing." But as folklorist Philip Hiscock once wrote, it may not be old folklore, but "real folklore it is." Just ask Cher.
Then there's the end to Daylight Saving Time, when the United States ceremonially turns the clocks back one hour and takes part in the biggest chronological scam in history (with the exception of enlightened states such as Hawaii and [most of] Arizona). In years past, we've compiled incredibly persuasive lists of reasons why DST is such a confusing, outdated system, and explained why DST should just be year-round at this point.
It's not as rare as a full moon on Halloween, but typically, DST's ending only coincides with Halloween once every five years or so. But if others had their way, things would be different: back in the 1980s, the candy industry tried lobbying to have DST extended into November. They argued it would be safer for kids to trick or treat if it were lighter out longer, but the candy industry was apparently also desperate to increase sales at a time when sales had fallen off because of hysteria around the myth of candy poisoning.
And then the trifecta: The Strokes have appeared as musical guests on SNL only three times, in 2001 with host Jack Black, 2006 with host Peter Sarsgaard, and 2011 with host Miley Cyrus. It didn't even seem like The Strokes were still an ongoing band just a few years ago, let alone one on the verge of releasing their best album in over a decade.
Is it just a spooky coincidence that The Strokes are appearing for the first time in almost a decade during the second full moon of the month, which last coincided with Halloween eve in 1944? Is it dumb luck that the episode is being hosted by John Mulaney, who has hosted many of the best SNL episodes of the last decade, just before Daylight Saving Time ends for the year? Is the convergence of all these semi-mystical, fully-explainable events just serendipity? Is this all just my attempt to not think about the enormous stakes of the election and my ongoing fears around the pandemic for a few hours while playing around with photoshop while Serendipity is on TV in the background?
Or is it just a sign of an exquisite, sublime plan?