1:00 pm EDT, October 24, 2014

Dueling columns: Why Halloween is the best

When people think of holidays and the holiday season, Christmas and Thanksgiving are always the first (and sometimes the only) holidays that come to mind. Why not Halloween? Because Halloween is the most underrated holiday of them all.

Editor’s note: This is one half of a dueling column. Read the other half explaining why Halloween is the worst.

To some, Halloween is a necessary obstacle in the way of Thanksgiving and Christmas, something to mark off the calendar and use as a benchmark. It’s been marked as a silly holiday that has no depth or meaning behind the scary masks, haunted houses, and tons of cavities.

To others, it’s a time of great celebration. A celebration of the dead and of pure imagination, of the here and now as well as the hereafter. Halloween isn’t just about candy and spooky or sexy costumes. It’s about so much more than that. And yet, very few people stop to think about it.

While you may not be persuaded by the end of this that Halloween is the best holiday ever, I hope that it’ll at least make you reconsider your feelings on it. That’s really all I can ask. After all, there’s no way you can love it as much as I do…

Halloween has such a long and rich history.

Hocus Pocus Book

Although there are definite Gaelic and Welsh influences, our modern Halloween stems from Christian customs. Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, began as the first day in the Biblical year that was dedicated to the remembrance of the dead, including saints and martyrs. Historically, All Hallows’ Eve uses humor and ridicule deal with death.

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It’s from the idea that the day should be light-hearted about death that things like bobbing for apples and carving pumpkins came about. Halloween costumes are seen as another part of ridiculing death and imitating the creatures attached to it. In some cultures, costumes are also seen as a way of disguising children from dangerous creatures to keep them safe because Halloween is sen as the day where spirits can come back from the dead. The day where the physical world is closest and even blurs with the spiritual world.

As you can probably tell, there’s so much to the history of Halloween that it’s impossible to attempt to summarize here. Each culture has a slightly different way of celebrating the holiday, every culture more wonderful than the next.

The Day of the Dead is beautiful.

Calavera Catrina

The Day of the Dead, celebrated in the days immediately following Halloween (November 1-2), is all about celebrating the life (and death) of deceased loved ones. Instead of mourning their deaths, the holiday is all about happy memories and appreciating your ancestors. Like Halloween, skeletons are everywhere on Day of the Dead. However, they’re colorful and portrayed in a happy way, rather than a scary way. The entire holiday is beautiful and full of meaning. It’s a shame that it’s still not widely observed.

There are SO many fun things to do during the Halloween season!

Michael Jackson Thriller

When it comes to having fun things to do, no other holiday rivals Halloween except for maybe Christmas (but even that’s debatable). We’ve already mentioned a few, but they bear repeating: apple-picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted houses, carving pumpkins, scary movies, Halloween movies, trick or treating, bobbing for apples, Halloween parties… Need we go on?

The best part about all of these options is that they can easily be made into fandom activities. In other words, Halloween activities are so great that you can customize them to fit your interests (and your comfort level with scary stuff)! What other holiday allows that much personalization? Not Christmas, that’s for sure!

There’s never a dull moment (or weekend) in the month of October and we have Halloween to thank.

Halloween is the holiday where you can be yourself or anything else that you want to be.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Choosing a Halloween costume is one of the best parts of the season. It can take months to come up with the perfect idea, and even longer to actually put it together (especially if you’re making it yourself). On Halloween, you can dress up and act like your favorite hero or villain, witch or princess. You can be anyone you want to.

Dressing up as whatever you desire is so incredibly motivating and empowering. If you don the costume of an ass-kicking heroine like Black Widow or Xena, it’s hard not to feel instantly stronger and more stealth-like. There are few things better than embodying your favorite fandom characters through costume. We have Halloween to thank for that.

I’ve dressed up as so many of my favorite characters. From Miss Scarlet (from the Clue board game) to Wayne Campbell (Wayne’s World) to Taco “Belle” (the costume I’m donning this year), choosing a Halloween costume is always a fun time for me!

Halloween is a time of tales, myths, and stories.

The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Hocus Pocus. The Tower of Terror. “The Raven.” The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror. There are so many tales and stories surrounding Halloween and told during Halloween. If you stop and think about it, all of your favorite shows have had at lest one Halloween episode. You most likely enjoy Hocus Pocus and have friends who love to talk about it.

Our lives are so greatly influenced by stories and myths. We’re creating or absorbing them on a daily basis. Halloween is the inspiration for so many classic movies and stories. Without it, who knows where storytelling would be.

Halloween is the holiday for fandom.

Nightmare Before Christmas

Halloween is so much more than a holiday. It’s a way of life. If you stop and think about it, Halloween is really the best holiday for fandoms.

Magic, witches, monsters, ghosts… These figures are a part of a lot of our daily lives, especially if you’re huge fans of television. After all, the supernatural is a large part of a lot of TV shows this fall. But even if you aren’t a fan of television, these characters are also prevalent in literature. Harry Potter, anyone?

Halloween is our holiday. It’s our day where we all can go full-out with our fandom obsessions and appreciations. Not only that, but we can all do it together. It’s like one huge world-wide cosplaying convention and we truly can’t get enough of it. We wish it was the Halloween season more often.

All the candy… Duh!

Mean Girls Karen

So, we may have said that Halloween isn’t all about the candy. But it’s a definite plus, right? Who doesn’t like a holiday where the only meal or food that you have to buy is candy? There isn’t even any cooking or baking involved. Everyone around you is buying candy so that they can give it to you. For FREE. It’s perfect.

How much do you love Halloween? Is it your favorite holiday?

Editor’s note: This is one half of a dueling column. Read the other half explaining why Halloween is the worst.

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