My Problem With Halloween

Published on September 29th, 2009 in: Editorial, Halloween, Issues |

It’s nearly Halloween, the night when ghosts and ghouls prowl the darkness, when witches and vampire bats scour the sky for victims to spook, and when I reach for a good book to read.

Don’t get me wrong—I don’t hate All Hallow’s Eve. I’m not opposed to it on moral or religious grounds. Hell, I shell out for candy to give to the little kids in costumes and the bored teenagers in street clothes. I just don’t get any sort of feeling from the holiday. It’s a curiosity that rolls around once a year, and then it rolls on by.

When I was a kid, I loved the anticipation of choosing a costume and aching to wear it. I loved the candy, of course. But as an adult, I don’t dress up to go out and I don’t eat candy. I see other people getting excited about October 31, planning how they’re going to decorate their house, and all I can think of is how much money they’re spending and wondering where they’re going to store all that stuff for the other 364 days of the year. Christmas I’m all over: it’s a season, rather than a single day, and encourages altruistic feeling towards one’s neighbors. There’s no obligation to provide something for the various children on the block at their demand, and you don’t have to worry about kids throwing eggs at your Christmas light display or toilet papering your fir tree.

no halloween

Maybe that’s my point: Halloween doesn’t really have a dedicated goal other than BOO! It was traditionally the night when the world of the dead came closest to the world of the living and became most dangerous. Yay. I’m not a fan of being scared or startled, and I think that’s a major contributor to my disdain. Halloween is about fright, death, and fear, and honestly none of these things really float my boat, so I’m never that excited when October comes to a close. I don’t watch horror movies to any great extent, and the thought of a night filled with costumed strangers who do fills me with a desire for an early bedtime.

Costume parties are held before the 31st, but basically Halloween is one night, and truly night. Mardi Gras is one Tuesday, but it’s all day long (and technically includes the two weeks prior). Halloween gets shorted to basically sundown until bedtime. Even Independence Day gives us a day off work to picnic and jet ski, so a four- or five-hour holiday just seems a bit thin. Maybe if the Halloween season were a week long, I’d enjoy it more, but one night? Blink and it’s over, time to take all the decorations down and throw out the pumpkins you were so proud of this afternoon. New Year’s Eve is basically a single night of celebration, but when it’s all over you still have a shiny new year to play with.

I rank Halloween at slightly higher than Labor Day, but still below Independence Day, Memorial Day, Valentine’s Day. . . OK, it beats out Groundhog Day and probably Flag Day, too. This year I’ll be at the door with my bowl of candy, and I’ll stoop down for the li’l ghosts and princesses, and my wife will most likely decorate the yard and house, so don’t think I’m a complete wet blanket here. I just need to find a mask that will hide my eye-rolling for one night.

Christian Lipski, Editorial Staff

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