October 30, 2015

Halloween 2015

Halloween celebration decorations, New Orleans
Halloween celebration decorations, New Orleans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If I could celebrate only one holiday each year, it would be Halloween. I've felt that way for a long time. As a child under the age of 12, I enjoyed Halloween far more than any other holiday except maybe for Christmas. But Christmas had lost much of its appeal by age 12 thanks to...well...Christianity. Sure, it was a great excuse to spend time with family, but the Christian trappings and associated traditions had worn thin by that point. Halloween was just more fun.

As an adult, I've realized that I do not particularly care for any of the holidays those around me celebrate. I welcome Thanksgiving and Christmas for the few days off work they bring, but I do not do anything different on those days than any other day of the year. I've long hated the Fourth of July and New Year's Eve because of the fireworks (noise and litter). I do enjoy New Year's Day, but only for the football marathon it brings. I've never cared for Easter. Even when I was a Christian, I found it quite pointless. And the appeal of celebrating birthdays disappeared after #16. That was a big one, but I have seen little appeal in celebrating aging since then. Today, the pain and disappointment associated with growing old is one of the last things I'd like to celebrate.

Halloween is different. I loved it as a kid, I loved it as an adolescent, and I love it as an adult. I don't celebrate it today as I did when I was a child. I don't go door-to-door begging for candy, and I haven't put on a costume since college (or maybe it was grad school). I do not believe in ghosts, demons, monsters, hell, or any aspects of the supernatural that used to terrify me. This has not diminished my love of Halloween one bit.

I also don't celebrate Halloween today as I did when I was in high school or college. For example, it has been a long time since I egged someone's house or threw rolls of toilet paper over their trees. It has been many years since I drank myself into oblivion and slept with someone I didn't know who was wearing a delightfully slutty costume. Frankly, I'm fortunate to have survived those days in tact. While some of the remaining memories are good ones, I have little desire to behave that way today. And yet, this has not made Halloween any less enjoyable.

These days, my observance of Halloween starts in early October. As the oppressive Mississippi heat and humidity finally begin to subside, getting outside becomes more appealing. I have a small but enjoyable collection of Halloween decorations I pull out at the beginning of the month. Most are indoor decorations, as they are more for me than anyone else. Some are outdoor and are going to need to be replaced after this year due to all the wind and rain we've been having over the last few days. My trips to the grocery store often involve me bringing home items seasoned with pumpkin spice. I love the stuff. And no, I'm still not a radical feminist social justice warrior.

As Halloween gets closer, I watch a few of the Halloween specials on TV; however, most of my limited free time is devoted to watching horror films. Many are old favorites, but I usually try to catch a couple of newer ones I haven't seen before. And while the newer ones are often disappointing, I rarely mind. Sometimes bad horror movies are fun in ways even the good ones don't quite manage.

I used to enjoy how much Halloween seems to terrify many of the local Christians. I absolutely loved it when Christians sought to create their own alternative holiday and named it Jesus Ween. Okay, I still enjoy these things, but they play a smaller part in my own love of Halloween than they used to. There's plenty for me to enjoy regardless of what the Christians are doing. The fact that some of them happen to be frightened by the holiday is just a perk.

I wish I had Halloween off work every year. I'd gladly trade Thanksgiving for it. For whatever reason, the last couple weeks of October almost always seem to be one of the busier times at work. This year is not only no exception, but it has been one of the busiest Octobers I can recall. I suppose everyone else is buckling down to get as much done as possible before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Whether you celebrate Halloween, Jesus Ween, or neither, I hope you have a good day tomorrow.