Hiding, Hoping, and Halloween

Blood red eyes, heavy mascara, sassy Santas, elegant avatars, gorgeous dresses and’ of course, normal people – this Halloween had it all. Despite my enjoyment of the holiday, Halloween requires a lot of cognition and hard work.

All I saw were people left, right and center, hoping to be unique. A plain old ghost or witch sounds boring in such tense competition. One person wore a toga, and held a newspaper, as she claimed to be Times New Roman, another knocked, asked for candy, and then knocked again, claiming he was déjà vu. Surrounded by such Halloween pros, the pressure was on, but I guess that is what adds to the fun of the holiday. If you don’t try hard for something, it’s just not worth it.

When I woke up Thursday morning, Halloween didn’t seem really important – hardly anyone was dressed up, apart from a careless horse or Batman mask thrown on. All my excitement at seeing trick and treating, for the first time, fell flat.

The fog the day before, with its ominous white vapors, had seemed like an omen for an awesome Halloween, as did the news of a nebula, which looked like a wicked witch. Therefore, I was severely disappointed. Then it grew dark outside and, cliché as it is, all the monsters came out to play.

Everyone expects you to spend hours doing your makeup to get ready, buying a costume or inventing one by tearing through your clothes. I always thought Halloween required someone to dress as an “evil” creature, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

Halloween, originally created by Celts to disguise themselves, has become a form of expression instead, or a way to attract others. A little more than a century ago, Bram Stoker wrote Dracula about a horrifying vampire who kills people. A few years ago, Stephanie Meyer wrote Twilight, the polar opposite of its predecessor, with a sexy and lovable vampire. Vampires are no longer the popular costumes of Halloween.

The event has become not a way to hide as I assumed it was, but a way to be proud of how you choose to participate. So everyone has to try a little harder. Whether you’re disguising yourself as a belly dancer or a professor, generic dresses just don’t fit the bill. I believe this was partly necessary to keep Halloween alive. Otherwise, as belief in ghosts and fatalism diminished, the tradition would have disappeared. No matter what you choose to wear, thinking of interesting costumes for Halloween is strenuous fun.

Even though most people do, you don’t have to dress up for Halloween. I was shocked that so many people were just as normally dressed as I was. They either planned to refuse to conform to traditions (which is awesome in and of itself) or had way too much homework to be bothered (which is what college does to you). This doesn’t mean that we didn’t all enjoy the Halloween spirit, because no matter what we chose to do, our values were reflected in that decision.

Akin to the new spirit of Halloween, instead of not being yourself for one day, even while dressing up as someone else, you attempt to be the most like yourself as possible.