With October comes the beginning of fall, the best season, dancing the line between summer and winter. A coolness seeps in, making the air crisp and creating autumn’s display of vibrant leaves which paint the trees and streets in flaming reds, and glittering yellows. Now that the month is on its way out, the chill settles in to stay and the wind begins to whistle through the now bare trees to sing a haunting tune. Now comes the anticipation, the waiting for the one night where our dreams and nightmares roam the streets with us: Halloween. This is a time to face our fears, to unmask the masked, and expose the monsters that hide in plain sight.
The horror movies and haunted houses terrify us with the threat of danger and all that could go wrong on this night of mischief. It is a night to throw inhibition to the wind. Embrace this night of terror and throw a party with gummy brains and witch finger cookies, watch The Conjuring, or spend the night wandering haunted houses with zombies and clowns. These hair raising, heart racing celebrations leave us terrified and fully enthralled by the Halloween season. Though I love the thrill of being scared and the feeling of adrenaline coursing through my veins, I know this isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun time. In spite of this, Halloween still offers plenty of charms.
Halloween is a time to visit the pumpkin patches and pick apples from orchards, walk through the haystack mazes and jump in leaf piles. Movies such as Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown also add a flare of fun to the holiday, attracting those who are looking for a night of laughs while still engaging in the culture of the holiday. Movies like these, while curled on the couch, one hand in the bowl of candy corn and the other clutching a hot mug of spiced cider, are the epitome of a cozy Halloween celebration for one. For a more social time, a party with your friends while listening to ‘I Put a Spell on You’ by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, wearing silly costumes and eating chocolate can still offer a night filled with fun.
Halloween is a cherished holiday for the children back in the US as a time for candy and costumes, and as we get older, it evolves from a night of trick-or-treating to an excuse for partying. Though this joy is known to the people of the US, Halloween and its revelry are not celebrated like that here in the UK. Many of the new friends I have made, who are from the UK, are not as attached to the holiday or have never truly celebrated it the way my friends from home do. Thus, I asked a friend from Cardiff a few questions about his Halloween traditions.
What are some Halloween celebrations your family partakes in?
When did you last celebrate halloween?
‘Does this year count? If I were to trick-or-treat on my street I’d be stabbed. I’ve gone to parties around Halloween, but the costumes were never as important as the drinking.’
When was the last time you dressed up for halloween?
‘I have never dressed up for halloween. Well that’s a lie. I might have dressed up when I was five but I can’t remember that.’
Do you get excited for Halloween?
‘Not usually, but because I’m around a lot of people who enjoy it this year [Americans], I’m excited now.’
The worst part about this, as far as I can tell, is that it is not a unique experience. Kids and adults everywhere deserve to experience this haunted holiday and enjoy the celebration of all things spooky. Halloween is the time where the tables are turned; the night where the streets fill with children and the houses are crammed with teenagers. The parties rage all night long in an attempt to relive the wonder of our youth when we were excited by what we didn’t know, scared by the monsters that lived under our beds. Even the Halloween movies from our childhood transport us to worlds filled with magic and creatures of the dark. They transport us to a romantic view of the world where monsters walk among humans for a night of excitement and mystery. That is why it is a holiday worth more than we allow. That is why Halloween is more than just another night.