Well, of course Halloween is great. Need you ask? But let’s examine why.
Time of year/day of the week. October 31 is a perfect date for a holiday like Halloween. It’s harvest time, when the leaves have turned and the air’s turned crisp, but before the impending onslaught of winter most harsh. The sun sets earlier, and the outdoors take on a greyish-brownish-pinkish hue popularized and satirized in many a chromatically under-saturated horror film. Few holidays are so spiritually and psychologically connected to time of year. It’s hard to imagine fall without a Halloween.
It also occupies a soft spot on the calendar. Labor Day has long since passed, Thanksgiving and “the holidays” are yet a few weeks away. Ideally, both for kids and adults, Halloween would always fall on a Friday or Saturday, so it’s another example of why we need Holiday Reform. Rating: 8/10.
Tradition. All Hallow’s Even’, the day before All Saints Day, might be rooted in Celtic or Pagan festivals depending on whom you ask. The modern tradition of pranks, candy, and costumes, however, is all-inclusive and involves few serious rituals (at least I’ve never heard of any). The macabre fixation with death and blood might be a turnoff for some people, but modern Halloween offers lighthearted alternatives. A Spongebob costume might be as common as Dracula or the Wolf Man. It’s also an easy holiday to opt out of if you’re not in the mood; it is what you want it to be. Rating: 9.
Activities. Asking for candy, receiving candy, eating candy, and playfully punishing those who offer no candy. Dressing up in costumes, which for adults can involve serious competition. Parades and bobbing for apples. (Actually, I’d be surprised if people still bob for apples, unless it’s in a tub full of Purell.) Of course, the hedonistic, alcohol-infused atmosphere can occasionally get out of hand, but that’s only in soulless, demonic cesspools of the damned anyway, where an occasional purge is necessary. Rating: 9.5.
Overall. It’s understood that God created football to ease the transition from fun-filled summer to sedentary, madness-inducing winter. But as not everyone is entertained by the savage ballet that is football, we need other, more whimsical diversions for all ages and types. Halloween fits the bill. No gifts to buy, no service to attend, no serious reflections (unless you really want to reflect on life’s utter insanity and finality, but I’m pretty sure Halloween was meant to distract you playfully from all of that, the same way the Airplane! movies were meant to get you to laugh at the potential terror of air travel). In a perverse way, Halloween mocks the earnestness of more serious holidays; it shows us that we are, in the end, a wicked, cursed lot. So why not party? Rating: 9.5.