Halloween is back.
I wrote about Halloween a couple years ago. It was nothing but a simple musing about the way some of the people back in Alabama treat the holiday. I didn’t go particularly in-depth. Instead, I focused on my general memories: things like churches ranting about demons or quietly slipping politely worded anti-Halloween flyers in peoples’ mailboxes.
I’m not prepared or even interested in doing some sort of Halloween deep dive, but it’s interesting to reflect on what I’ve said in the past. Growing up, I was never especially interested in any holidays. Yet, I loved Halloween. I grew up in a partially pagan household and I liked the general spooky aesthetic, but the end of trick-or-treating was the end of celebration. Sometimes I would pop in a spooky movie or go to a bar. That’s really it. Only in the last couple years have I started to feel excited for it.
This year, I decorated my house, obtained a costume, and have invited friends over for a Halloween party. I’m talking about a real party, with music, drinks, and games. My past efforts at ‘parties’ have mostly been the same three friends sitting around and drinking cider while watching Youtube. I’d classify that as more of a normal hangout, which is fine. But honestly? I’m pretty excited for this party.
It isn’t just a matter of Halloween, but holidays in general. I’ve typically despised Thanksgiving and Christmas, to the point of alienating my in-laws by refusing to go to half of their events. It has nothing to do with being an introvert, either. That’s not an excuse I can use, because whenever depression doesn’t have its claws in me, I’m quite the extrovert. Maybe that’s a topic to cover one day: the Chronicles of an Introverted Extrovert.
I digress. Why did holidays go from apathetic-to-miserable to being fun?
This is something that really struck my interest last Christmas, when I was upset that I didn’t get the tree up early enough. “What the hell is this,” I wondered. Since when did I care about a Christmas tree?
After a year’s worth of musing, the answer is stunningly obvious: I am an adult, and can do whatever I want. There are no more awful Thanksgivings with cousins that I can’t get along with. I have the right to choose between the five or six Christmas gatherings I can potentially attend. Nobody can drag me from awful Thanksgiving to awful Thanksgiving. I’m old enough that I don’t have to make “I’m sick” type excuses to get out of an event I don’t want to go to, because I’m strong enough to not give a damn if I’m judged for not going. Who cares? I don’t anymore. It’s my life, and I can go to however many Christmases I want.
And you know what? I’m a lot more holly-jolly for it. Nobody is trying to make me enjoy it anymore, and it’s glorious.
But this is about Halloween, not Christmas or Thanksgiving. Like I said, I enjoyed Halloween as a kid. I liked creepy things like bats and spiders, and I low-key loved my church’s conversations about demons. How cool and scary! I wasn’t supposed to think it was cool and scary, though. The church just wanted me to like candy and pumpkins, and not all the scary things. Yet, they couldn’t stop me from growing up into a horror fiend.
It feels pretty good to be allowed to like Halloween. I wish I’d capitalized on it earlier. Some mixture of holiday apathy and childhood shame kept me from really going in like I always silently wanted to. So, you know what? I’m going all in this year. I can, I want to, and I will. If there’s something in your life that you long for, from a stupid constume party to a lofty dream, don’t let discouragement from others drag you down.
Did I just tie Halloween into one of a thousand basic “chase your dreams” speeches? I sure did. But mine is better, because mine has witches and pumpkins.
Go get ‘em.