I’m not a big Halloween person, generally. I don’t decorate my house except with smiling pumpkins, and I don’t make scary snacks for my kids, or scary anything really. I don’t like gore or fake tombstones or enormous spiders, the fascination with evil or giving people nightmares … But despite all that, I still think Halloween is kind of awesome. Here’s why:
First of all, there’s obviously the candy. All the candy. With the definite exception of candy corn, which is terrible, candy is awesome.
Then there are the costumes. I don’t usually dress up myself anymore, I’m ashamed to admit, but I love it when other people do! I love all the costumes (with the exception of the sexist/slutty everything, especially marketed to kids … But that is a topic for another time). I love:
– hilariously random hand-made costumes
– ridiculously impressive DIY costumes
– thrown-together-at-the-last-minute-with-stuff-you-have-in-your-house costumes
– and I even love teenagers-wearing-only-mouse-ears-so-they-can-get-candy costumes, because teenagers are people too and they know that going to beg for free candy is a smart thing to do.
But the number one reason I love Halloween is because it’s an evening for celebrating communities. So often we lament the fact that we don’t embrace our neighbourhoods that way we used to. We instead think of suburbia as a place where people drive minivans into built-in garages, and then send their kids to play in fenced backyards or to sit in front of screens. People can live in a neighbourhood for years before they have more than a few surface-level conversations with their actual neighbours. Of course there are a lot of wonderful communities that are great at building friendships and helping each other out all year long, but for those places where this just does not happen, Halloween is like culturally mandated neighbourliness. For one night, every year, people get out of their houses to wander the streets, knocking on each other’s doors and being friendly. And I just think it’s awesome.
Of course, I have recently moved to farmland, where we get no trick-or-treaters at all, and where you have to climb into the back of a pick-up truck and drive from house to house if you want to visit the homes of your actual neighbours. The plus side of this, of course, is that farm communities get so few visitors on Halloween that they give out great stuff. So get your full-sized chocolate bars and cans of pop ready, farmers, because we’re coming! Our costumes will be haphazard and the kids will be super shy, and you may not know we’re coming so you’ll be scrounging around in your cupboards for granola bars or cracker packages … and it’s gonna be kind of awesome.