There are few holidays that are impervious to time. Christmas calls for a tree and presents, New Year’s a countdown to midnight, and Thanksgiving a turkey. Each one inspires a plethora of almost universal traditions. Halloween, however, always changes with age. Trick or treating turns to house parties, house parties turn to nights out, and then most reach the age where they feel too mature or too embarrassed to dedicate a full night to celebrate. This begs the question, when is it time to hang up the costume and stop going all in for this spooky day? I would like to argue that that day should never come. Halloween is not religious or political, and for most it is not a very significant day. This is even more of a reason for it to be cherished. Halloween is simply an excuse to wear whatever you would like with a group of friends. I really don’t think there is a deeper meaning, nor should there be. Embracing the futility of Halloween is what makes it great.
Last night, in the true spirit of Halloween, I went to a couple of overcrowded house parties – dressed as a bunny, of course. The following are my thoughts on the night, and why Halloween should not be forgotten with time:
1. Small talk made easy
My first discovery last night was how easily Halloween inspires conversation. While I would not say it sparks any genuine discussion, the simple “what are you” or “why are you dressed like that” are questions only acceptable to ask to strangers on Halloween. Asking a stranger their halls, what they study, or what year they are, frankly gets old. Halloween lends a conversational freedom to the night. Even the occasional “are you a witch?” becomes socially acceptable at Halloween parties.
2. Who doesn’t love being someone else?
Child or adult, the ability to dress as someone else will always be fun. I would even go as far to say that it becomes more enjoyable with time. Halloween parties are the perfect outlet to express yourself free of any judgment. The possibilities of what or who you can be are endless. I have come to terms with the fact that I may never be a cartoon bunny, except of course for one fateful night a year.
3. Bringing back the candy
Going door to door asking for candy as a university student may not be very well received. The need for sugary treats, however, tends to stick with most people. Being able to wander around a crowded house party with your pockets filled with various types of candy, indiscriminately indulging throughout the night is quite a beautiful concept. Would I feel bad about eating six packs of Squishies while trying to make frivolous small talk 364 nights a year? Not on Halloween I wouldn’t.
4. The people-watching
The three streets of St. Andrews are typically stocked with the same familiar faces everyday. Although home to individualistic students and many fashion shows, I cannot say there is a large variety in style at all. Yet, Halloweekend paints the streets with celebrities, superheroes, mythical creatures, wild animals, and so much more. Halloween gives way to the most extreme means of self expression, or at the very least makes a walk through town more interesting.
5. Are your friends creative?
Given the opportunity to be anything in the world, choosing to dress as a cat or ghost is quite honestly dull. Halloween is a great time to reassess your friends’ creativity. Are they boring? Can they name all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Do they understand inane references to bygone childhood shows? These are all crucial questions you should be asking yourself. Luckily Halloween parties are the perfect time to analyze your friends and their creative abilities.
6. The nostalgia
Halloween, however it may change with age, will always be a call back to childhood fun. I will never forget the pure anarchy that would descend the streets of my town as everyone ran door to door on a quest for candy. Halloween evokes a youthful feeling in most, empowering adults to dress as cartoon characters and superheroes. Halloween is intrinsically a juvenile holiday, but that does not mean people of all ages should not enjoy it.
Last night was a reminder that Halloween will always be a special day. It may change with age but the essence of the day will remain. In my opinion, any excuse to wear a costume and eat copious amounts of candy should be welcomed. While the day may be considered childish and perhaps viewed as futile by some, that does not mean it should not be celebrated. I hope to live in a world where people don’t ask why they should dress up as a cartoon bunny and eat Squishies for several hours at almost twenty years old, but instead embrace the freedom that Halloween parties have given them.