Scaredy Cat

30 Oct

Halloween is the day when parents encourage little boys to dress like little girls and little girls to dress like whores and go door-to-door brow-beating hard working Americans into giving them free food. – Coach Sue, Glee

To be honest, I think Halloween is a super creepy holiday. As someone who jumps at the slightest noise and only enjoys the darkness when I’m sleeping, I find myself scared of everything as Halloween approaches. I’ve been to one haunted house in my life (it was my freshmen year of college – I’m a late bloomer), and that was one too many.  I’ve never liked scary movies, so I’m certainly not a fan of a holiday that celebrates their very existence. And I’m happy to eat candy any day of the year – I don’t need Halloween to convince me to indulge my sweet tooth.

The holiday’s history is also super creepy, supporting my somewhat-dramatic opinion. It is linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain (or Samuin), which celebrates the end of the “lighter half” of the year (seasonally, it means the end of summer) and the beginning of the “darker half” (in Halloween terms, it means ghosts and ghouls and goblins, oh my!).  Ancient Celts believed that the border between our own world and the other world became thin during this festival, allowing spirits (both nice and evil) to move back and forth. In order to ward off the harmful ones, people began wearing costumes and masks, disguising themselves as someone evil in order to avoid harm. And thus, our modern day celebration of Halloween (derived from “all hallows evening”) was born.

Begrudgingly setting aside the scary factor, I will argue that Halloween has one particular perk: you can be anyone or anything – you don’t have to know who you are or even have a sense of who you want to be. When you’re little, you can dress up as your favorite movie character (Dorothy Parker, complete with a little brother playing Toto) or your favorite animal (in the case of my sixth-grade self, a cow, complete with a pink bow and bell around my neck).

As you grow up, Halloween is an excuse to dress outside the box and push social boundaries a bit more. As Mean Girls taught us so many years ago (before LiLo’s first meltdown…and her second and third), it’s the one day each year when “a girl can dress like a total slut, and no other girls can say anything about it.” If you’re dating someone, you may choose to go the route of couple costumes. Or if your boyfriend has any say in the decision, you may very well forego that option.  Either way, the holiday is more about tricking than treating: pumpkin ale and parties, haunted houses and horror flicks.

In fact, my roommate and I are throwing a Halloween party tonight. I woke up this morning with spider webs creeping down the banister and a witch flying into our backdoor (which means one less scary creature roaming around). We’ve been so focused on party planning that our homemade costumes have yet to be completed. Plenty of time left, right?

Regardless of your age (and again setting aside that scary factor), the holiday is about embracing the beginning of fall (the “darker half” of the year), exploring the pumpkin patch before carving the perfect jack-o-lantern, and eating candy until your belly aches. Happy Halloween!

the plastics do halloween oh-so-well - Mean Girls (2004)

can you guess what we're going to be tonight?

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