I am sure we have all had this question asked of us on many occasions. This year, I find myself fielding this particular one more and more. Depending on the person asking this question, or the way they ask it, the tone ranges from enthusiastic wonder to apathetic sarcasm. For the purpose of this posting, I will be dealing with the latter.
My latest conversation went something like this :
Clueless - Why are you so obsessed over Halloween?
Me - It's the greatest Holiday during the best time if year.
Clueless - What is so good about this time of year and Halloween?
Me - So many great things happen during this time of year and Halloween is so much fun to celebrate.
Clueless - I just don't get it. It's just another season and some pagan holiday that most people don't celebrate. I just think you are weird.
Me - Yeah that is what my neighbor was telling me last night when he woke up and I was standing over his bed with an ax.
Clueless - Really?
Me - *sigh* I am so sad right now that I will never ever get the time I have wasted on this conversation back.
This dismal encounter sparked a memory from my childhood. My parent were not convinced the education system was doing it's best for me and were attempting to have me graduate early. A guidance councilor from my local high school was sent forth to evaluate the situation. This woman had such a negative and closed minded disposition, there is no way she could have ever helped any child or family. It just so happened she visited during the week of Halloween. I had taken an inflatable skeleton and dressed it up in mask and robe for the occasion.
As the sour faced "Negative Nancy" was leaving our home, she looked over to the prop and said in her best "I'm talking to a moron" voice, "You realize this thing is not real. NOTTTTT REEEEEAL. Right?"
It took me a moment to figure out she was serious, to which I broke out in fake sobs and cried loudly, "He is real! He walks around at night and talks to me. He tells me to do things.... BAD THINGS!".
I am pretty sure that was not the right thing to do, but even back then I had no tolerance for ignorance or negative people. After lengthy tests for both intellectual acuity, and mental stability, my parents got their way and the "guidance councilor" continued on to torment and ruin the lives of other families.
I guess I have always been fighting the good fight for my favorite of holidays. Still people need to know why?
For me, personally, there are numerous reasons I am "obsessed" with this awesome holiday. Below, you will find my top reasons that I love to spout off when asked. Perhaps they will assist you in answering the next "curious" person who asks you.
THE SEASON OF AUTUMN
How does the season play into the grand scheme of a Halloween "obsession"? It sets the pace and mood of humanity at large. It sets us up for celebration and opens the mind to all things whimsical and fun. This season sets the atmosphere for our holiday of holidays and puts us all in a good mood. Who doesn't love the majestic beauty that Autumn offers?
For many of us, we have spent month of weeding, trimming, pruning and *gulp* mowing. Autumn signals the end to these mundane chores of spring and summer.
The end to green, green and more green. Nature's color pallet is fully utilized with the fall foliage, even more so than spring. Don't get me wrong, I like green. I love landscaping, but after months of it, I am ready for change. Change is good! It's the spice of life.
The air is crisp and campfires/bonfires are actually more welcomed this time of year for heat as well as roasting. So often it is nearly impossible to enjoy a good fire during the summer for hot dogs and marshmallow because of the heat.
It is a time of harvest when all the toil and work of spring and summer reward us with corn, pumpkins apples, and squash.
Festivals, craft days, pick your own pumpkin patches. These are the Autumn lifeblood of small communities.
Creepy nature. With the leaves falling from the trees, this is the only time of year you can find honest to goodness creep factor in nature.
The MLB Playoffs and World Series are in October. I am always looking for a chance to see the Yankees choke.
Football is in full swing. High school, College, and the NFL. My best friend is a high school football coach so it is even more meaningful in my household (GO RC EAGLES!).
Fall TV lineup. Finally, after months of re-runs, there are new shows! Old favorites and brand new ones to look forward to every night.
THE HORROR OF IT ALL
The biggest aspect of Halloween is the fear factor. We dress to scare, decorate to horrify, and seek out spine tingling haunts and other attractions, all in the name of the holiday. So what is the big deal about scary stuff?
Horror films and programs are created, released, and watched by millions year round. Zombies, vampires, ghosts and werewolves are staples of the American media. People love to get scared. The adrenaline rush, the thrill of the shock, the exuberance of surviving it all from the safety of a comfy chair while munching on popcorn. Why would it be such a huge leap to think about celebrating this feeling during the Halloween season? To create a setting in which people can feel that thrill and revel in it for just a short time each year.
Even games can't escape the year round horror flavor. When we play games for fun that are shocking, macabre and scary, it goes to show you. Being scared is fun!
Haunted Houses, Attractions, and Rides are in full force during Halloween but many operate year round with millions flocking to them even during the brightest summer days. All Hallows Eve allows us to bring this adventure into our homes, garages, and yards and share with our community.
So we have established that the world at large enjoys being scared, thrilled, and shocked but enough of skirting around the topic. Let's go straight for the heart of the matter... Halloween itself!
Time to dig into the meat and potatoes of the allure of modern day Halloween. Any Halloween Enthusiast can tell you the origins of All Hallows Eve and it's links to the Celtic Samhain, but what is the modern day attraction to this Holiday? What puts the Happy in Halloween?
Candy, candy, and more candy. Halloween is always associated with Trick Or Treating children everywhere. Who doesn't like the idea of a bag full of candy?
Trick or Treats! As a kid I loved it! As an adult I look forward to the little kids coming to my door asking for my carefully prepared treats. For a moment it allows me live vicariously through them and sparks off nostalgic memories. It also permits me to scare the living daylights out of them with my yard haunt!
Costumes. For a brief time, it allows us to pretend to be somebody else. To take on the persona of the famous, the freaky, the fantastic. It enables us to break free from our every day , self imposed, chains of routine and is a blessing in disguise (pardon the pun). It serves as a creative outlet for many of us. Spectacular and intricate costume designs never cease to amaze me every Halloween. Even the store bought costume selections are growing into the realm of the incredible.
Dressing up your pet. Like the world needs another excuse to put an outfit on our beloved four legged friends. Still, this time of year seems to bring that out in all of us.
While we are on the subject of costumes, lets not forget the women. Halloween brings something out in the female mind that allows them to drop their inhibitions and go a little wild. That quiet bookworm that you see sitting in the back of the library is going to a Halloween party dressed as a dominatrix tonight! For women, Halloween has taken on a very sexy turn and allows them to shine in all it's glory. Who doesn't love that? (If you say you don't move your game piece back 2 spaces for lying).
Scary movie marathons, commercials, and specials. Every show on TV worth it's salt has a Halloween special. Even Halloween music pops up on radios and music TV.
A creative outlet for many people that are blessed with ability. Prop builders, decorators, pumpkin carvers, or just spooky crafts, Halloween bring out the best in many of them.
Local Haunted Attractions such as Corn mazes, Forests, and Haunted Houses spring up everywhere! Most are for a great non profit cause as well. Help your community while you pee yer pants!
Decorations. Indoors, outdoors, purchased or hand made, they are great. Whether you are into eerie elegance, bloody massacre, or old fashioned Halloween, the decor is just uniquely amazing. Commercial decoration continues to evolve each year into fantastic items. The creativity and ingenuity of the Halloween Community trumps this with unbelievable objects of art.
Yard haunts spring up all over the country. Everyday working class Americans haunting their yards, garages, even their own houses just for the joy of sharing the spirit with others. It seems each year I read about more and more of them springing into existence. I wish there were yard haunts back when I was a kid. I would have loved to walk through one to get my treats.
Terribly creepy but amazingly good foods. What other time of year can you happily munch down on chocolate spider bon bons and eat cheesy meat eyeballs. The creativity of the cook and the imagination of the eater form together to create an experience you can only enjoy during Halloween.
What scary or sexy costume wouldn't be complete without a Halloween Party? For me, this is one of the best things about the holiday. It takes all aspects of Halloween and crams it into one glorious celebration. The decorations, the creepy food, music, and the haunt, all on display for a single event. A time for reveling in the creativity of the food, atmosphere, and costume design with friends and family. A full on Halloween party is an experience that you wont soon forget.
So there you have it. This is but a small sampling of why I am "obsessed" with this grand thing we call Halloween. If any of you are subject to such people that question your reasoning behind your love of the holiday, direct them to this post. It may shed some light as to why we, the Halloween Community, have such zeal for it. It may even open their eyes to the many wonders of this time of year.
So the next time somebody asks you , "Why are you obsessed with Halloween?!?!?". Think back to this post and ask them.....
"Why are you not?!?!?"