Bob Patey sent #ASKROB this timely Q to A: What is so special about Halloween if you’re over 8 years old?
Halloween holds a different connection for different people, there is no one simple right answer. There are actually three right answers:
Institutionalized Begging for Kids Condones Binge Drinking for Parents…
While the kids get candy, Mommy and Daddy get their own sweet treats in a can or a bottle. 99% of the country has a ban on open containers in public. Well, not on Halloween. While the cops are chasing down the little bastards who TPd Misses Donnely’s tree because she once again is giving out raisins (not the snack box type, just a handful of them), it leaves the cemetery door wide open for every adult to flask their minds into numbness as they remind their kids 8000 times to thank the nice people who didn’t put razor blades into the Snicker bars.
Halloween is the time of horror movies. Why do people love horror movies? They offer a similar escape from our humdrum daily lives as other genres; but while we can fall in love, go on a madcap escapade, or experience intense drama in our lives and see tomorrow, what we can’t do is die twice. Nor can we easily watch someone else get haunted by a ghost or a skin wearing chainsaw wielding madman while remaining unscathed. With enough aesthetic distance, one can experience something they will NEVER experience in their day-to-day lives…without it ending that life.
Dress up! While dressing up for Halloween began as a way to confuse spirits that rose from the grave on all hallows eve (hence why skeletons and ghosts were the norm years before dressing up as an eggplant smoking a cigar became vogue), we have modified as a way to inhabit somewhat else for a night.
Some do it to play act, some revel in an evening of anonymity (see the movie Eyes Wide Shut for people that make a Halloween a year round activity), and others simply marvel in the act of costuming – trying to be the best “other thing” they can be with utmost authenticity. While I don’t condone the hashtag #slutoween, it is ironically the day one can show a lot of skin sans usual societal judgements.
Fear Reminds Us We’re Alive!
We all get charged up over something. For some it’s a belly laughing comedy, for others it’s a deep romance that gets the endorphins flowing, and for some it is having the beejeebeez scared out of them that reminds them alive. It’s the same principal as a roller coaster ride. Just as you crest the first big hill and look down, your pulse pounds and a tingle ignites all the hairs on the nape of the neck. This is your fight or flight instincts kicking in, the primordial part of us that only sees the plummet and not the safety governors that let us know we’ll be fine. It’s a great mechanism, we never would have survived as a species since humans are dumb fucks who feed on endorphins. Without this fear, we would have hurled ourselves off cliffs for years to make our bellies tingle. Halloween is a night of perpetual safe scares that let us see the dark side and come out A.O.K.