More of a trick than a treat: Why I’m not wild about Halloween

Illustration of someone laying in their bed, surrounded by scary movie characters.
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Halloween stresses me out. And because it stresses me out, I struggle to share in the excitement that builds around me the second we hit Oct. 1. Maybe it’s the fact that I never know what costume to wear, maybe it’s the fact that I’d take baked goods over candy any day, maybe it’s the fact that I have the tendency to jump at even the tiniest breeze and maybe it’s because Halloween just never seems to live up to its expectations, but I just don’t understand what makes it so great for everyone else. And yes, I realize that die-hard Halloween fanatics will think I’m crazy for writing this, but I’m doing so in hopes that some Bears out there feel the same way I do.

When I was younger, I never knew what I wanted to be for Halloween. I changed my mind at least three times throughout the month of October, which always resulted in a last-minute run to the nearest Halloween store to find something to piece into a costume. However, because my friends always sported elaborately crafted costumes, I could never let myself settle for the prepackaged, store-bought version. So I ended up with something in between homemade and store-bought. No matter what it looked like, I always felt self-conscious and embarrassed about what I was wearing, which I think is why I still don’t enjoy dressing up to this day.

Now that I’m older, choosing what to wear for Halloween includes a whole new level of complexity. I never know whether I should try to stand out and make it creative or go with a more mainstream idea to fit in. There’s a fine line between a costume that looks good and one that will be considered “provocative,” for lack of a better term. The perfect costume is inexpensive yet polished, attractive yet modest, easily distinguishable yet creative — a nearly impossible combination, if you ask me.

Apart from the fact that I don’t enjoy dressing up, I feel like Halloween never quite lives up to its expectations. If you think about it, you spend the entire month of October (and maybe even longer) decorating, putting together your costume and planning out what is supposed to be one of the most fun nights of the year. But all it is is one night. This year, the traditional ways we’d celebrate Halloween are not safe, according to current health guidelines. Yet I feel like there’s even more of an expectation for Halloween to be special and exciting simply because it’s something to look forward to among our monotonous days of “Zoom University.” 

Don’t get me wrong — I don’t go as far as to not celebrate Halloween at all. It’s just that any excitement I express for the holiday is simply building off of the excitement of the people around me and not truly my own. So I’m here to say, in the midst of all this Halloween content, that it’s OK not to love the holiday as much as everyone else does. It’s OK not to want to dress up. And it’s OK if your night falls short of your expectations. I admit it can be fun to celebrate and switch up your routine, but at the end of the day, it’s simply another day in the year. And while some of us might not be that down with it, for those who love it, go out and enjoy to your heart’s desire!

Beatrice Aronson is a deupty blog editor. Contact her at [email protected].