Sharpen your wooden stakes. Polish those silver bullets under the glow of a full moon. Ready your axes and blowtorches, but please-seriously, please– do not actually use any of these weapons. You aren’t under attack. Those vampires, werewolves and Lady Gagas you see mean that it’s finally Halloween!
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Listen, I know. It’s only the beginning of September. It’s still technically summer despite hiding all of our white clothes from nature.
I don’t care.
I have searched my heart, and found its capacity for “Mwahahahas,” witching hours and red horns too large to ignore this year. I have always loved Halloween, but in the past, 40-hour workweeks, homework and the lack of Halloween-enthused friends have shackled my attempts to fully enjoy the goriest time of the year (other than Shark Week, of course). In 2008, my now wife and I dressed up as Barrack Obama and Sarah Palin. Yes, we rocked “Obalin.” The next year, she wore a makeshift version of a Batgirl costume, while I donned a general steam punk getup that not even I understood. (My wife assured me that it was a thing). It was all very last minute. We sure didn’t give Halloween the attention that it deserved.
But no more! No more handing out candy to children, while I sit on my front steps, jealous of eight-year-olds playing dress up. I will dress up, too, damn it! No more will I let any Halloween night end as anti-climatically as the 1931 Dracula movie. My Halloweens will not simply be caught sleeping and then slayed off-screen.
Halloween deserves better than that. It is a special time of year- filled with candy apples, fake eyeballs and haunted hayrides. Halloween has always been about the 4D experience of it all. It is one day on the calendar, but when the leaves turn orange and brown, and the tress go bare under darkened skies, who can’t help but to think that the Headless Horseman may jump right out in front of you to claim his prize from your shoulders. It does not start and end on the last day of the month. Halloween is a time of year. It is a cultural lifestyle leading up to its great finale on October 31.
Plus, let’s face it. Halloween is so much better than those other holidays around this time. Christmas? I may have outgrown watching cartoons about a bunch of jolly elves building toys together in a room, but I have not outgrown watching movies about an alien Blob, which can only be defeated by the town’s necking teenagers. Or movies about a race of little green men who invade Earth, and kill by injecting pure alcohol into their victims via their un-manicured fingernails. Or movies about chainsaws, and all the non-virgin camp goers that chainsaws can cut through.
Absurd? Disturbing? Yes. But, it’s okay. It’s Halloween, and silliness, gore and sexy Elmos are okay. (Alright. Sexy Elmos are never okay).
Halloween is also much more morally sound than Thanksgiving. On this November holiday, we celebrate stealing land from Native Americans. On Halloween, we celebrate the countless deaths of people, who unknowingly built their fancy houses on the site of ancient Native American burial grounds. This just sits right with me.
Halloween does not demand that we invite strangers to our dinner tables under the guise that they’re family members whose names we should remember. Halloween does not demand that we pick sides in some fictitious war between X-mas and Christmas. You know what Halloween asks of us?
It demands that we celebrate great bad movies, because most of the bad films worth celebrating are horror films. It demands that we eat candy and, by God, do not stop eating candy. No other holiday offers up the frightful and tells us that it’s okay to be frightened. Halloween asks us to believe that magic is real for no other reason than for the shear fun of it. It is the most creative holiday. Literary buffs even have something to stick their noses down at as they point out that Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster are not one in the same. Silly, unread Americans.
Here’s my promise. I promise to enjoy this wonderful holiday to the fullest this year. I promise ghost tours, haunted houses hosted at ex-penitentiaries and ex-asylums. I promise thoughtful costumes, Abbot and Costello slap-sticking their way through encounters with classic monsters and excitement for the ghoulish that will rival that of any six-year-old, who truly believes that the Goblin King is ready to steal them away the moment they are left unattended.
Let’s not wait until October 31 to celebrate Halloween. The time is now. I’ve already armed myself with my Halloween music mix. I’ve already bought three horror flicks, queued up about 20 more on Netflix and pestered my friends into a trip to Gettysburg for a ghost tour.
So, in the spirit of Halloween, I leave you with one burning question: “My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?”