Halloween is weird as heck. People around the country decorate their houses with spiders, skeletons, and zombies in an attempt to lure masked children to their front door so they can shower them in unhealthy treats. It’s great. America is great.
The origins of Halloween are traced back to Celtics from what is now Ireland celebrating their new year (Nov. 1st). They thought ghosts and such came out to haunt on that day, but they would calm the spirits with treats. It’s common knowledge that ghosts just stopped existing all together in the 1930s once they all moved into candy factories, gorged themselves, and exploded into candied bits. That’s where M&Ms came from. Look it up. We continue to celebrate regardless.
Halloween has evolved over the years and means different things to different people. Like with most holidays, folks have various traditions. Some go out seeking treats, some stay in and dole them out, some ignore it altogether, some use it as an excuse to dress as crazy or as scantily as possible. As I said, it’s weird. I’ve done many of the above (aside from dressing scantily, but I’m still young – there’s time) and I can’t say definitively what my preference would be. Doing nothing is a little sad, so that’s ruled out.
As a kid, I loved Halloween. Getting to pick out a costume and go out seeking candy is an obvious blast for kids. The first costume I can remember wearing was a trash bag that looked like a pumpkin, filled with balled-up newspaper. I’m not sure the bag was intended to be a costume, but it wound up adorable anyway. Not surprisingly I was also a 3 ½ foot tall Darth Vader. Twice. Once I was the Riddler from Batman because I was obsessed with Jim Carrey. I went once as a mad scientist with one of those strange glasses/nose/mustache combos and an Einstein wig. I mastered a slow head turn that actually made it pretty darn scary. I went as death (aluminum foil scythe and all) and likely would have terrified every poor old person in the nursing home if I was taller than 4 feet or so.
In college, I always went to a Halloween pub crawl dressed in either a couple’s costume with my girlfriend/fiancee/wife (college was eventful for us) or with a larger group in costume. It made for some fantastic people-watching, but it isn’t always ideal to go to the same packed bars as hundreds of other thirsty college students. I’ve also spent a couple Halloweens at my sister-in-law’s house, handing out candy to kids and the occasional too-big-for-Halloween weirdy, though my nieces do most of the handing-out work. My wife and her family are also big pumpkin carvers – a tradition that’s beginning to bleed over into my family as well.
However you spend your October 31st, whether it’s carving a poorly done face into a gourd, escorting your kids around in their expensive (or homemade/likely too time-consuming) costumes, or staying in quietly watching spooky movies, it’s going to be a pretty good time. I’m considering going as Darth Vader for a third (or fourth?) time, but I’ll likely just dish out some goodies and have a pumpkin ale. I’ll have carved at least two pumpkins and will have a few too many pieces of my own candy. It’s tough to go wrong with Halloween.