What does Halloween mean to you?

I just read Ty’s wonderful Brief Thoughts on an Introvert Halloween, and it so stimulated my brain cells that I found myself writing a story as a comment, so I thought I’d explore what I said there, here! Do read his post and subscribe to Too XYZ–no introversion required.

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Halloween is my favorite holiday. From the years of trick-or-treating (all the way through college) to baking curry pumpkin seeds to deciding how to pull off a Dead Steamboat Gambler or a Demented Voodoo Sorceress or a Little Dead Riding Hood, Halloween has pretty much always been fabulous.

It was the candy, it was the dressing up, it was the license to be out after dark. It was getting away from the normal stream of life with a minimum of fuss because we were sanctioned to do so. Sure, you can spend weeks or months planning what to wear for just one brief day or a short weekend of fun, and sometimes you freeze parts of you off when going from car to party, but generally any effort you put into it is worth it.

It’s not about the candy for me anymore, but it’s still about the dressing up. Yet Halloween has blended over into real life for me in those after hours, and I think it’s because of the people I hang out with. For them, and for me, “dressing up” is pretty much the norm, no event or holiday required. Steampunk/Victorian, Renaissance Faire, goth (old school or not), it’s become okay to wear something a little or a lot different, even if you’re just going to a house party, or no party at all.

Or rather, I’ve become okay dressing up without needing a holiday or event as a cover.

Looking back, I wonder if I’ve always wanted to enhance my after-hours this way, and just needed to find like-minded people to make it okay. I had fabulous friends in college, but we didn’t “do” dressing up in seemingly-outlandish costumes just because. We needed an officially-sanctioned theme, such as an 80s dance, to go beyond just putting on the nice pair of slacks or sparkly dress, if that. Being in college meant we often skipped that step and just rolled in with whatever felt good.

It’s odd how you can feel yourself changing the way you encounter things, the way you react, depending on what you’re putting on. A mask isn’t just that rubber Frankenstein’s monster with the too-small eyeholes. A mask or costume is anything from a hairstyle to a backless dress to a steampunk monocle, that interview outfit or work-appropriate shoe.

So why not have fun with it? Let yourself have that permission to come out after dark, to explore a new facet of your intriguing personality, to be perhaps more truly you than the face you show to the work-a-day world, unless you can carry it over with impunity.  Our whole club could be full of introverts, for example, but you’d never know it because we’re all happy behind our costumes no matter what day it is.

Halloween just adds that extra something special, a little more spice to that nearly-perfectly seasoned dish, a little more “Dead Man’s Party” and “Every Day is Halloween” from the DJ, a little more shared admiration for each other’s ingenuity.

And it’s fun!

Do you restrict your “dressing up” to work or special occasions? Is Halloween your license to explore?

2 thoughts on “What does Halloween mean to you?

  1. I think Halloween as an adult has more potential for me than it did as a kid. Like I said in the post, I thought I was going to finally explore some of that this year, but there were no parties. But in the coming years, I may use it as a tool of exploration more than I have previously done so in my adulthood.

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    • I think that’s an excellent idea.

      And you’re right about the potential increasing. Theoretically we have more mobility as well as more avenues of explorations as adults, not tied down to a long-suffering parent taking us around the neighborhood, or driving us to where our friends are canvassing the suburbs. It’s about fun, not the candy haul!

      Though I do have nostalgia for when I’d come home and pour the bag out on the living room floor, with my parents rather eagerly watching. They did ask if they could take this or that piece instead of just diving in.

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