Halloween Homage

Selina Koller

Ah, Halloween! The best, most elusive holiday! The one day to pretend you’re someone else, eat candy, watch a terrifying movie and/or party as much as you’d like. Who doesn’t love a reason to do all that?

In mentally preparing for this hallowed (ha!) day, I realized I didn’t actually know much (anything) about how it came to be and all that. A bit of research (read: a Wikipedia search during commercial breaks of “Revenge”) revealed its religious origins, a day on which Christians honor saints, martyrs and deceased relatives.

Boring origins to the rowdiest holiday, am I right?! Perhaps, but it is interesting to consider how Americans have made this sanctimonious day into one of jack-o’-lanterns, costumes and fun-sized Snickers bars (commercialization and Hallmark can’t be blamed for it all, by the way). Unfortunately, I don’t actually care enough to put the time into understanding how this conversion came to be – especially since I have precisely zero costumes prepared!

Even though my outlook as a college student (especially one in a town with exactly four bars) is skewed, I do appreciate the fact that Americans have an ability to find enjoyment in the boring and mundane – may it be Halloween or tailgating a football game or the daily lives of a certain family with an overabundance of names beginning with the letter K.

Halloween strikes me as especially unique: while apparently based in religion, it quickly and effectively became pervasive to American society. I don’t know if it’s American creativity or ingenuity or what, but there is undoubtedly something to be said about us as Americans to celebrate a holiday whose sole premise is to dress up and get candy. I mean, where or when else is there a day on which you can knock on literally anyone’s door, demand candy and receive it?

It’s interesting that, while other countries have certainly tried to adopt this concept of Halloween, it is only here that it has stuck to such an extent. While other societies have days, whether religiously or culturally-based, like Mardi Gras for example, where enjoyment is a primary concern, they are not necessarily inclusive or universally entertaining to everyone (at least, I’m hoping a five-year-old doesn’t enjoy Mardi Gras as much as I might).

It’s a holiday that can be genuinely enjoyed by toddlers up to the geriatric crowd to even the celebrity circuit (note: don’t paint your face black if you’re both caucasian and frequent tabloids). I remember fondly how fun it was to dress up during elementary school and parade around, camcorders running and film-cameras flashing. Despite my status as a jaded senior, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone dressed up and enjoying some pumpkin-flavored drinks. Even my grandma, who has a special proclivity for tripping obnoxious kids in restaurants, very much looks forward

to it.

My point is: we’re lucky to be in the United States, able to celebrate this holiday that exists for literally no reason (at least to the non-devout). They say happiness comes from the little things in life, and although that is something I have truly never understood, I do hope you all enjoy the small pleasures in dressing up, carving a pumpkin, handing out/receiving/eating candy, watching a scary movie or whatever else you’re doing to celebrate this Halloween.

Contact Selina Koller at [email protected]