OK, I’m just going to say it.
I don’t like Halloween.
There, it’s out in the open now. I feel nervous but exhilarated. My secret is out. I don’t like Halloween.
I am not opposed to it, I have no moral or religious objections to it, it doesn’t bother me to see others decorating for it or dressing up for it… but I don’t like Halloween.
I did when I was a child. Children like dressing up in scary costumes and making ghostly noises in exchange for sweets. Children like dunking for apples and searching for a silver coin in an apple pie. Children like spooky decorations and toy spiders. I very much enjoyed the whole thing when I was wee. But as an adult? No. I don’t like Halloween.
I don’t remember Halloween being a huge event when I was a child. I remember wearing a mask (we called them “false faces”) and a witch’s hat or a joker teeth grill (we used to call them “false teeth”) and I remember my mum throwing a small Halloween party each year, either just for my sister and me, or with a couple of our closest friends. When I was a little older, I enjoyed watching scary movies at pajama parties with my mates. But I don’t remember all the hype that I see nowadays. We never decorated our houses or streets, for example. We never went trick-or-treating. We wouldn’t have gone to school dressed in our costumes. For me, Halloween felt almost like a little filler activity to keep us going between the summer and Christmas holidays.
And also, didn’t we spell it “Hallowe’en”, back then?!
Not only has Halloween never been particularly important to me, but lately I find myself somewhat confused about what the heck it’s actually about. When I was a youngling, I learned about its origins. Irish folklore, Celtic Samhain, All Hallows’ Eve, harvest festivals, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, the souls of the dead, evil spirits. I suppose you wouldn’t be allowed to teach much of that to kids nowadays, for fear of offending someone’s religion or scaring the poor, fragile little children. Pffft. Don’t get me started.
Anyway, my point is, can people actually explain what Halloween is, any more, or are we just all dressing up and getting candy/drunk (depending on age)? You know, just because that’s what we do in October? No one knows why. My major issue (for yes, I do have one) is that most of the costumes these days have absolutely nothing to do with Halloween as I thought I understood it. We always dressed up as witches, monsters, zombies, mummies, ghosts, vampires and the like. Halloween was about being scary and getting scared. Nowadays, it is apparently acceptable to dress up like a fairy-tale princess, or a character from current events, or a movie star. Anything goes. What the hell does a sexy nurse or Superman have to do with Halloween?! I don’t get it.
Let me just repeat that I have no objection to Halloween. I don’t understand all the excitement and build-up I’ve been witnessing over the past few weeks, and I could live without this particular ‘holiday’ (it isn’t a holiday, by the way), but hey, I’m happy if the people around me are happy, so have fun! Something occurred to me today, though, as I sat despairingly at my desk wondering how I was going to put together a decent costume by tomorrow night. It was a revelation; almost an epiphany, I believe! And it was this: I don’t actually have to dress up and go to a Halloween party if I don’t want to.
I’ve done it for the past few years out of a desire to please everyone else. You must wear a costume! It’s Halloween! You must come to the party! It’s Halloween! So I did. I groaned and sighed over costumes, I went out looking and feeling ridiculous, I tried to show enthusiasm over sparkly wigs and men with fake boobs and grown women wearing tiaras and fairy wings. But damn it all, I don’t like it! I don’t understand why I’m dressing up. I don’t want to feel self-conscious about looking ridiculous, or slutty, or both. I don’t want to spend ages looking for inspiration and materials for a costume I don’t actually want to wear. I don’t want to pose for numerous pictures ‘in character’. I don’t want to have to explain who/what I am, over and over again. I don’t want to have to say “Ohhhh, I love your bunny ears / tiara / fake blood” a million times, while pretending I mean it.
It’s not my idea of fun. I’m perfectly fine with it being your idea of fun, but I’m just sayin’ – it’s not for me. And suddenly realising, today, that I don’t actually have to do it, was honestly the biggest weight off my shoulders. It just sucks that I have to miss a Saturday night out because I don’t want to wear a costume (and I don’t want to be THAT person), but one Saturday night isn’t much, in the grand scheme of things. And on Wednesday night, we’re going to curl up on sofas, have a few drinks and watch Rocky Horror. That’s my idea of fun!
Happy Halloween… if you like that kind of thing.