Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter all serve to brings families together. For many people, the only time you will ever see your extended family is a funeral or on one of these three holidays. But, if you are like me, and you don’t really want to see your extended family, then Halloween is the perfect holiday. With its emphasis on community over family, Halloween allows people to get closer to their chosen family and not the family you wish you could run like hell from.
Some of you reading this know the pain of extended family and are completely on board with Halloween and its emphasis on partying and the macabre. For the rest of you who are not on board with my premise, let me sell you on Halloween and its greatness.
The major religious holidays are built for families, consumerism, goodwill and peace on Earth. These four ideas are all nice, but Halloween is the holiday of strangers coming together through hedonism, costumes and the macabre.
Halloween is the season of anonymity and strangers coming together to live briefly in a moment of glorious excess. It is the “Mardi Gras” that every person who’s not in New Orleans can enjoy. It’s the only time groups of people can get dressed up as their favorite characters and party with a level of anonymity not afforded by other holidays. The masks often worn by party goers allow for people to be who they actually are without society’s judgment being forced upon them. If you’ve ever been at a costume party and seen the stereotypical jock show up to the party looking like he just came from a showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” puking his guts out in an alley, then you’ll know the greatness of this holiday.
One of the grandest tradition of all holidays is the movie marathons that accompany them. Halloween has done something that no other holiday has accomplished and taken an entire movie genre. Horror movies have ingrained themselves in the holiday to the point that they have become inseparable; everything about the movie genre has permeated into the holiday. The horror genre has ingrained itself into every aspect of Halloween from the costumes that people wear to candy shaped like horrors, and the holiday has become richer for it.
Halloween is the holiday for movie lovers, partiers and the inner child in us all. It gives us the chance to party with anonymity and to be who we always wanted to be, even if its only for a night. Halloween brings us together through excess. Whether that excess comes from partying, candy or the macabre, Halloween allows people the illusion of freedom from the restraints of family and norms in a way that no other holiday can.