There are precious few days on the calendar that I can point to and say, without hesitation, “This day is awesome.” My birthday isn’t on that list. Neither is Thanksgiving or President’s Day. No, come to think of it, it’s a list of one: Halloween. It’s a day (and more importantly evening) where America shows the same enthusiasm for the costumes, horror and morbidity that I hold so dear. There is a looming threat to my favorite day, however, and it’s agent of destruction is clad in red and rides a chariot of supernatural slave deer.
Christmas Creep is coming for Halloween.
The winter holidays (in particular the consumer free-for-all associated with them) are an all-powerful mental, social and financial juggernaut here in America, and its long campaign to annex more of the calendar into its tinsel strewn city-state has been well documented. In the past decade, however, its march into the territory of other holidays has accelerated. I knew there was trouble when paper turkeys and overflowing gourds began to sit alongside plastic skeletons and cardboard graves on the shelves of department stores. I may have joked about the nexus of holidays in my Shadowrun campaign, but this is no laughing matter: When there is no room left in the holidays the Merry will walk the Earth… but in, like, October. Not cool, Santa. not cool.
The most offensive aspect of this situation to me is simply this: Halloween is a holiday that evolves with you as you grow up, a quality that escapes other special occasions. Christmas becomes a source of stress on countless levels, Thanksgiving becomes morally questionable as one learns about American history, and birthdays become reminders of our short time on this spherical stone spaceship. But Halloween always arrives with a strange assortment of festivities that doesn’t ask for feigned familial affection or slaving over a stove for a decadent meal. It simply says “Put on this mask and have fun.” If Tiny Tim wants everyone to enjoy the holidays and have a silent night, Halloween wants you get weird and eat candy.
Halloween is a fun-for-fun’s-sake kind of holiday. No one really expects anything from each other, but if you’re into costumes and candy then you’re in for a good time. From Trick-or-Treating as a kid to house parties to Nightmare Before Christmas trivia and sing-alongs, Halloween never stops offering a good time. I mean really, which would you rather do: sing Christmas carols at strangers or join a karaoke contest with someone dressed as Jareth from Labyrinth and another dressed as undead Elvis?
So the winter holidays need to back off, because the only thing scarier than having to deal with holiday stress early, is October becoming the “unofficial” beginning of the shopping season.
So what about you? How are celebrating this Halloween? Bonus (nonexistant) points for sharing your costume with us.
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