Halloween is an all inclusive escape from bitter cold responsibilities


Juan Diaz / Hilltop Views

A spooky clown enjoys her night on 6th street.

Reilly Cardillo, Staff Writer

As a native Floridian and a vicious horror movie dissenter, I am not your typical Halloween fanatic. A holiday ripe with cold-weather traditions and the gore and terror of a Stephen King novel would not likely be my first choice for holiday fun.

And yet… I find myself looking forward to Halloween more and more every year, despite the fact that no one gives me free candy anymore. Halloween is the people’s holiday. It does not discriminate, it does not exclude and it offers an escape, often when we need it most in the year.

Our Halloween is widely accepted as a modern incarnation of the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain. Samhain was a celebration of the closing of harvest season, and a welcoming of the darker half of the year in Ireland. It was also considered a liminal time where the lines between our world and the next were blurred.

Perhaps this is where Halloween gleaned its spooky reputation. Nowadays, we celebrate by trick or treating, carving jack-o’-lanterns and watching Practical Magic 14 times in one week (or is that just me?).

One of the most welcoming aspects of Halloween is its complete and utter lack of allegiance. Halloween is not uniquely American, it is not uniquely Christian and it is not uniquely consumerist (Valentine’s Day, I’m looking at you).

This sets it aside from nearly every other holiday celebrated in the United States, and allows people from all different walks of life to appreciate its distinct, albeit uncanny, charm.

By the same token, Halloween is also a holiday during which a person in any station of life can find a way to celebrate. Those without fathers feel left out on Father’s Day, those without significant others can feel slighted on Valentine’s Day and those devoid of Christian influence often skip Christmas.

But Halloween is for everyone: trick or treating for children, costume parties for adults, scary movies for the more jaded— no matter who you are, there’s a form of celebration for you.

And perhaps the most familiar and exciting facet of Halloween: the costumes. Even if you’re not one for greasepaint and wigs, your Halloween costume gives you the opportunity to be whoever you please, whether it be a personal icon, an avaricious politician or a beloved character.

And while these sartorial hoodwinks may be construed as another reason to spend money, many a college student will tell you that it is not at all difficult to make a great costume on a thrift store dime.

And besides the pure fun of dressing up, Halloween also offers an escape. By the time October rolls around, we are generally massively fatigued. The heated slog of summer has melted into the ambitious brisk of autumn, and most people are just looking for a break. Halloween provides that outlet and moreover, provides it to everyone, no matter who you are.