I really like Halloween.
It isn’t my favorite holiday, but it does pave the way for Thanksgiving, Christmas and spiked Eggnog, so I think it deserves the designation as one of my favorites. As my mid-twenties approach my upper-twenties (really?!), I am finding that some of my childhood memories are becoming more blurred than I’d like. Things once effortlessly recalled – first days of school, names of toddler friends, permit driving and becoming a teenager – now seem more difficult to remember. They always stand out as important, but have lost their details and particulars as time has moved forward and I have grown up. However, those annual chilly (and chilling) October 31-sts always stand out prominently in my mind. Perhaps this is why I like them so much.
Halloween as a little one was fun because chocolate never tasted as good in April or August as it did in October. We paraded around in our ghoulish glory, and the school parties always included dry ice.
Halloween a little older meant going trick-or-treating while our parents waited on the sidewalk and not by our sides. We exhausted ourselves inspecting every inch of Party City for the perfect accessories and the greatest face makeup.
Then, we started celebrating with our friends, starting at dusk instead of in daylight. Uproarious laughter resounded as we tip-toed from block to block, racing each other for the best brands of candy and the heaviest bags of loot.
Unlike other things that gradually slowed to a dullish end as we grew older, Halloween always continues for those who love it. Theme parties and taffy apples and scary movies are no less appealing now than they were when we experienced them at 11 years old. Sure, the drinks have become stronger – the nights later – but the fanfare of the holiday remains year after year. Why?
The answer here is simple: we love to dress up. We become scarier, or meaner, or prettier, or more fun. We become Snooki-liscious or Disney-esque or mummy-fied. This is almost more amusing than ever before, because we are adults and we have careers, relationships, homes and other things that give us a regular “identity.” Maybe we continue to embrace Halloween, because it is so freeing to let those things go for a night…
…And then, just like that, it’s back to reality. November 1st is here. Halloween is over. I giggled putting away my Tinkerbell costume last night because what seemed so fitting for a bash on Friday seems quite silly now. Photos and green glitter remnants remain as evidence of the fabulous evening, but already its memories begin to fade.
Life is funny like that. Every once in a while, it gives us a chance to revisit our childhood. It gives us an opportunity to remember why we love a particular day or season. It even gives us an option to dress in disguise for one night a year.
But maybe the trick here is remembering that what makes costumes so fun, is that we are our regular selves for the other 364 days. What makes a holiday so treasured is that it so seldom occurs. What makes youth such a great phase is that it’s so hard to get back. We grow and realize that as adults, it takes guts to don disguises with conviction and pride, but that the real courage comes in being brave enough to take them off.
And, when Halloween comes around next year, we know our very best costumes are only a congested closet (and a really great memory) away.