Happy Halloween, everyone!
Trick-or-Treat, Smell my feet,
Give me something good to eat,
If you don’t, I don’t care,
I’ll pull down your underwear.
I would live up to the hype around Halloween if I were at least 13 years (give or take a few years) younger than I am now. The excitement around Halloween took a turn when I turned legal because going out with friends was the new “it” thing to do. Let’s be real—if you had friends, and weren’t a bore, you’d be headed downtown or some cool bar to get your drink on. On top of that, you’d be drinking until you can barely walk (let alone walk straight), and odds are you’d puke your guts out at the end of the night. Now, it’s more of an obligation to go out and “celebrate” Halloween. And so, this year, I’ve made no real effort to plan out events for tonight. In fact, I’d prefer not to take advantage of this drunken holiday because of the amount of responsibilities I have.
Let’s backtrack: Halloween lost its magic pretty much when I turned 12 (again, give or take a few years). The free candy was still great, even with incessant worries that free candy were laced with drugs and crap by strangers, but I resented and despised dressing up as I approached teenage years—it was an unnecessary and irrationally expensive chore. When I was still considered a child, however, I’d be taken out by either my grandmother or friendly neighbours during the day to trick-or-treat with my little pumpkin bucket in the neighbourhood, and even at the mall. At night, I would be handing out candy or whatever treat to some older kids. I vividly remember being dressed up as a Power Ranger for two years in a row: I went as the Pink and Yellow Power Ranger. I detested both colours, but they were the only two girl characters. Perhaps why I hate(d) dressing up is because of the gender/sex constraints, although now it seems like the only day where you can dress up however you wish without being (really) judged.
Skipping ahead, when you turn legal, everything gets more exciting: you can go to the liquor store and buy alcohol; you can go to a club or a bar legally; and you can buy cigarettes. That’s exactly what I did. I did the whole partying thing nearly every weekend, I believe. Halloween was special, though, because not only was it another excuse to party, but also because the events seemed more exclusive (the entry tickets were definitely exclusive and pricy). Besides New Years Eve, no other time are clubbing ticket prices selling at 25-to-50 dollars. Nevertheless, it did its job. You pay for the ticket, you go to become inexpressibly inebriated, you go to get inappropriately shoved and groped, and you go to ruin your eardrums. It was special.
Halloween now, for me, has nearly lost its appeal. I say nearly because next year I may go and “celebrate” in whatever way I wish to. Anyway, this year, I definitely felt that I should come up with a plan to go out. And I’ll admit, about four-to-six weeks ago I did want to celebrate with a few drinks, but not once did I want to go out and get wasted or pay stupidly expensive entrance fees to listen to super loud music. Reflecting on my thoughts and obligation to plan something for Halloween, though, I realized it mostly had to do with the fact that it’s a weekend and that the hype around Halloween is so inviting. At this moment, I realize that celebrating Halloween has more to do with a sense of obligation. Halloween is ritualized: You celebrate and have fun with it as a child, there are always horror movies coming out around Halloween, and businesses package events nicely (and horrifyingly) to seduce consumers. College and university instructors often bring candy for their students, who are adults.
As a year-after-year ritual, I now feel incredibly exhausted by this obligation. I don’t hate Halloween, although I detest dressing up myself, but I do hate that I’ve always felt obligated to celebrate the last day of October. At any time and any day of the year, we should be able to go out and have fun with our friends and family without it feeling obligatory. I mean, Halloween is not even a real holiday: there’s no statutory day off. I may go out next year and enjoy the festivities, but I won’t be obligated to do so.
Happy Halloween, and smell my feet!