During my elementary years in the days leading up to Halloween, you could find me out in my front yard stuffing dead leaves into a pair of my dad’s old jeans and a flannel shirt. I’d stuff the clothing full, prop up the leaf-filled body into a lawn chair near the front door and place a plastic pumpkin on top for a head.
I’d then grab my tape recorder and a blank cassette tape and record “spooky sounds” with my keyboard. The idea was that I’d hide the cassette player in the bushes near the front door and scare off younger-than-me trick-or-treaters with my lifeless leaf body and spooky Halloween soundtrack.
I’m not sure it ever worked, but that didn’t matter because I loved Halloween.
I’d plan my costume months in advance. I was Raggedy Ann, a witch, Cyndi Lauper, a skateboarder and Freddy Krueger. I couldn’t get enough of spooky season.
“Why do you love Halloween so much,” the adults in my life would ask. BECAUSE, I’d say, motioning to everything.
Now, as an adult, I still can’t help myself.
It was still September when I pulled up the giant plastic bin of Halloween decorations that was so full, it wouldn’t close. The common areas of our home — living room, dining room, kitchen — are awash in holiday decor. Pumpkins, ghosts, spider webs, various types of garland — you name it, I have it. Ghosts hang from the eve by the front door, a giant spider is attached to the side of the house, I even have a Halloween wreath that lights up purple when the sun goes down. A porcelain ghost decoration my mom displayed in our living room when I was little now sits on the table in our entryway.
I still love Halloween. I love decorating for the holiday. I love picking out candy to give to the little trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood. I love seeing kids in their costumes each year, out past their bedtimes carrying bags full of sugary treats. I love chatting with the neighborhood parents as they stop by with their kids dressed as princesses and Marvel characters.
Why wouldn’t you like Halloween?
Unlike Christmas, there are no gifts to buy, no big family obligations to navigate.
Thanksgiving is great, but with Halloween there’s no big meal to plan, no worries if everyone will fit around the dining table.
Valentine’s Day is full of expectations that are rarely met.
Does anyone really have fun on New Year’s Eve?
But Halloween? For a day you can be whoever you want. There are no gifts to give, no big meals to plan, no expectations to meet.
Halloween can be scary or funny. You can throw a big party or keep it low-key. There are spooky and silly decorations to display. You can buy all your favorite candy to give out (and even keep some for yourself). And the absolute joy it brings to all the little trick-or-treaters? That’s the best part.
And that’s why Halloween is the absolute best.
And if your child comes home with any Whatchamacallits, Twix or Fifth Avenue candy bars they don’t want, you can send them my way.
— Rachel Brougham is the former assistant editor of the Petoskey News-Review. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.