By Sasha Spichke, PAW Writer
Halloween: That one day a year when you can be someone or something completely different from who you really are, go to random people’s houses and take their candy.
This is no simple holiday. Many will start planning their outfit a year in advance, go “all out” to have the best neighborhood haunted house or spend big bucks purchasing king-size candy bars. The Los Angeles Times, in a 2012 story, estimated that eight billion dollars would be spent on Halloween celebrations in the United States.
Eight billion! What makes Halloween so appealing? Is it the costumes, the candy, the decorations? Austin Duncan ’16, has some thoughts. “What I enjoy about Halloween is that it’s the one day of the year that so many people share in the same fascination with the horror genre and the general feeling of being as scared as I do, and it’s the only day in the year you can be whoever you want to be.”
Duncan does not waste any time. He starts preparing and celebrating Halloween early. He even starts planning his next costume on November 1st! “Typically, I spend the entire month of October and try to do something to remind me of the holiday each day. This can be as simple as wearing orange and black, or as exciting as going to Valley Scare. It’s a tradition my older brother, Blaine, and I have since as long as I can remember.” He recalls his favorite childhood memory, “The most memorable Halloween moment I’ve had was my first time going to Scream Town in Chaska. It was the first time I had felt like I was in the horror movies I watch all the time, and I loved it.”
Even Martha Stewart, a businesswoman and TV personality, loves Halloween. She totally inhabits the character she transforms into every year. In her recent videos, “Shriek or Chic: Martha’s Haute Halloween Challenge,” she invited three designers to pitch ideas to her. Each was given money and supplies to create a lavish costume in hopes of her picking one of them to wear.
Some, however, do not celebrate Halloween in the “-typical-” way. Malia Hester ’15 and her family choose to celebrate something different on Halloween. She said, “ We don’t like the way it’s celebrated these days: it’s emphasis on the macabre and ghoulishness and the demonic. It’s not even a holiday in the strict sense of the word. Halloween has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.” The Hester family alternative is to celebrate All Saints Day instead, and still enjoy the perks of candy.
Christina Stankey ’15 chooses to celebrate a laid-back Halloween. “Halloween was one of my favorite holidays as a kid – I loved dressing up and trick or treating and eating ridiculous amounts of candy. For the last few years, instead of I’ve just relaxed with friends and we hand out candy at the door and admire how creative some of the costumes are.”
So, will you be the one who goes all out? Or will you just relax with family and friends? One thing is certain: with costumes, decorations and endless candy, this holiday isn’t going anywhere soon.