As October reaches its end, the air gets colder and crisper. The ubiquitous pumpkin appears in everything from pies to ice cream to beer. Stores prominently display their selection of face paint, fake blood, and stick-them-anywhere eyeballs. It must be Halloween.
Halloween is as much a holiday for the adults as it is for children. It gives everyone a chance to release themselves from the constraints of society and to indulge themselves in their deepest impulses. On what other holiday can women walk around in public with fishnet stockings, a red skimpy outfit, and a pitchfork, claim they are the Devil, and still be considered normal?
Masquerade balls offer the opportunity to wonder and fantasize about that cute man behind the mask, without actually realizing he’s that guy in your dorm that you can’t stand. Figures and diets are forgotten as everyone uses Halloween as an excuse to gorge themselves on chocolates and other sweets of their childhood.
Indeed, Halloween presents adults with the chance to stop acting like grown-ups for once and to again become the children they once were.
Remember all the lectures your mom gave you while you were growing up?
“Don’t talk to strangers.”
“Don’t go out after dark.”
“Never eat something a stranger gives you.”
“Don’t play in the street.”
“Don’t eat too much junk food.”
So what did she tell you to do on Halloween?
“Honey, why don’t you dress up in this nice black cape and become Death for Halloween? Go run around the neighborhood, across all the streets, with no parental accompaniment. Be sure to talk to every stranger you see and ask them for all the junk food you want. You’ll come home with an entire pillowcase full of goodies sure to give you cavities, if not a bloody mouth from all the razor blades in the apples. I’ll see you in a few hours! Have fun! Be safe!”
What’s a kid to make out of all of this? For one night everyone’s allowed to become something they’re not, whether it’s Death, the Devil, or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Everyone conveniently forgets all the general restrictions of society as they allow their children to romp in the streets unsupervised after dark, taking sugary substances from complete strangers who may or may not be psychopaths. Why?
Perhaps everyone, children and adults, just need a break from the rules placed on them by everyday life. Halloween presents us with the chance to take this much-needed break and enjoy ourselves, with full knowledge that the day after, everyone will revert back to their normal roles.
Some people complain they are too old for Halloween. I believe that you can never be too old to let loose for the night and have a good time.
Dress up in a funky costume, dye your hair some strange color you’ve always wanted to dye it, and eat all the candy you want. Still think you’re too old?
Just send your candy my way.