The Un-Scary Side of Halloween
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but I’ve always felt judged for the way I choose to celebrate it. When it comes to Halloween, there are basically two sides: Team Scary and Team Fun. (Well, Adult Halloween has two camps. Kid Halloween as one team, Team CANDY.) While they’re not always mutually exclusive, the two camps can be contentious with each other. Team Fun tends to get their parade rained on if things get a little too spooky and Team Scary aren’t enjoying themselves unless everything is blood-curdlingly terrifying. As with any two-sided argument, each team believes they are “right.” As a lifetime member of Team Fun, I can see Team Scary’s point. Halloween originated as an opportunity to dress up and scare away bad spirits; they’re just doing their job. But as someone who has never enjoyed being frightened, I just can’t get on board. I’m here to lobby on behalf of Team Fun, to say it’s ok to say no to scary (life is scary enough without trying to be scary on purpose), there’s plenty of Halloween fun to be had without the fright, and that it’s just as legit a way to enjoy the holiday as running for your life from monsters, ghosts, murderers, or zombies is.
First there’s prep for the big day. It’s a DIYers dreamland. Halloween offers an excellent motif to apply to anything and everything you wanna get creative and make. Turn various foods into pumpkins, ghosts, mummies, monsters, and skeletons. Decorate with bones, spiderwebs, candles, and yet more pumpkins. Turn your front yard into a graveyard with some dollar store props. Get crafty with any one of approximately one million Halloween craft projects or apply a Halloween motif to your favorite crafty hobby that you practice throughout the year. When else to you get to repeatedly stab a large gourd until you’ve turned it into something fun and decorative? And don’t forget the grandaddy of all Halloween DIY: the homemade costume. While there’s nothing wrong with a store bought costume (I have gone that route this year for both my children), it can be so fun to piece it together yourself, to make something out of nothing, and to put your own personal spin on the character you choose to inhabit.
Once you’re ready for the holiday, there’s so much fun stuff to DO. Trick or treating gets a bad rap as just a big scam to get candy, but have you actually gone trick or treating lately? It’s so much fun! Whether you go door to door or participate in a local trunk or treat event, you get to see everyone else’s costumes and decorations, you get to see kids adorably react to their own costumes (the ones who try to “be” who they are dressed up as are the most fun, but even when they melt down, they’re still freaking adorable), and you get to have fun as an adult interacting with all the dressed up kiddos. Candy or no candy, handing it out or trekking around the block, it’s one of the most fun nights of the year. It’s also one of the best opportunities for a good party. Halloween reminds us all of being a kid and gives us permission to loosen up and have fun. And if you’re more of an introvert, Team Fun has some of the best, most classic movies for the holiday. Sure, there are jump scares, murderers, and monsters in the thousands of horror movies on the market, but we also have Jack Skellington and Sally, the Sanderson Sisters, Ray, Peter, Egon, and Winston, Adam, Barbara, Lydia, and “the ghost with the most,” Shaun, Ed and Liz, Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Pugglsy, Fester, Lurch, and Itt, and so very many more.
Now, I’m not saying Team Fun is better than Team Scary or that Team Scary isn’t legit too. Go, have fun, scare yourselves to death. But you can keep your fake blood and scars, undead makeup, and haunted houses (and asylums and cornmazes and wherever else ghosts hang out), I’d rather be on the team that carves inventive pumpkins, watches silly fun movies, and traipses up and down the street with kiddos dressed as miniature versions of their favorite characters. And if you’re with me, don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re doing Halloween wrong. But, whether you’re Team Fun or Team Scary, there’s one thing we can all agree on: deep down at heart, we are all Team CANDY.