Ah, October 31st. Probably my least-favorite day of the year.
I don't like Halloween.
I used to like Halloween. When I was a kid, Halloween was a time for me to dress up as one of my favorite TV or video game characters--as Luigi or Geordi LaForge or a white wizard from Final Fantasy, to name a few--and roam around the neighborhood with my family.
Halloween was only fun because it was a family event, and because I got to parade around like a dork and get away with it. Candy was something of a non-issue, as I'm not a big candy fan. I enjoyed collecting treats, but I usually traded or gave away at least a third of my haul, and much of the candy I did keep ended up getting thrown out after sitting around for a year and growing fuzzy.
Halloween became less enjoyable as I grew older. Messily carving jack-o-lanterns lost its novelty. Flagrantly geeky outfits were met with derision, and it was uncool to be seen outside with your parents. Ever. While I would have been content to continue trick-or-treating as a little kid in a bigger person's body, it was simply not socially acceptable to dress up as Sonic the Hedgehog and march around the neighborhood with a hobo. A hobo who is actually your father in disguise. Clever hobo.
The crushing blow came when I, foolishly, dressed as a LEGO minifigure when I was around 10 or 11 years old, possibly 12. My mother, who made all my costumes, did an excellent job as usual--I really truly looked like an oversized LEGO person.
I was utterly crestfallen when an old lady opened the door with her bucket of candy in hand and asked me, "Are you a banana?"
Halloween died, right there.
The self-consciousness hit me at full force, and the magical whimsy of escaping reality in the guise of something I loved became little more than a childish charade. No amount of candy could heal my broken plastic heart.
I did eventually recover from the embarrassment of wearing a nerdy costume in public--since then I've dressed up for two anime conventions and a few more Halloweens, and I leave the house wearing pajama pants with worrisome frequency--but whatever joy I once got from Halloween has largely remained in the past.
And the older I get, the more things I find that make me actively dislike Halloween.
I won't fault you if you argue otherwise, but Halloween is a celebration of all things terrifying, grotesque, occult, and destructive--it's the one day of the year where society as a whole embraces the things I eschew. It's the one day where I feel isolated from my friends because I want to have nothing to do with Halloween, which, by extension, means I want to have nothing to do with those who celebrate it.
I'm always torn, because if I stay at home, I feel like a jerk, and if I go out with even my closest friends, I never want to do anything anyone else wants to do, which makes me feel like a jerk.
I'll hand out candy at the door. That's fine. It's everything else about Halloween that makes me want to hide away from the world until it all passes over.
I'm too squeamish for violent horror films, and I'm too fond of feeling safe in my own home for the psychological ones; I don't like being scared. Gory zombie costumes and a jar of brains on your doorstep don't help, either.
Spirits and magic and demons are really popular around Halloween, and while I'm totally down with them being a part of real-world religions and works of fiction alike, I get uncomfortable when people start treating them as something halfway between religion and entertainment. Sure, break out the Ouija board; it could be harmless fun, or I might get possessed by a demon! You never know until you try!
Bobbing for apples: Bleaugh.
I'm all about responsible parenting, and no matter how much fun I had trick-or-treating as a kid, in retrospect it seems like Halloween encourages children to assume that their neighbors all owe them something, and that a mountain of something bad for you is, in fact, quite good. Also, Halloween trains children to lurk in the dark. Criminals lurk in the dark, you know. Maybe handing out candy makes me a bad person.
I'm a bit of a neat freak. A proliferation of fake cobwebs and mushy pumpkins really doesn't improve the aesthetic situation of the season.
Lastly, eggs and toilet paper belong on a grocery list, not on my house or in my trees. Thank you.
Enjoy your Halloween; I'll be hiding out here until whenever I have a family of my own, children and all, and can have fun trick-or-treating with them the way I used to have fun trick-or-treating with my family. And maybe, just maybe, one day they'll see past the sketchy costume parties and the cheap slasher flicks and realize that the best Halloweens were the ones spent walking the streets with a hobo by their side.