Halloween: The pump-king of holidays

by Margaret Cartee, Opinion Editor

Cotton-fiber cobwebs extend from window to window, speckled with miniature plastic spiders. A larger, fuzzier spider looms above passing students, hanging off the Harker library entrance and contributing to the spooky sensations slowly building within the campus in anticipation for the best holiday of the year: Halloween.

Though many holidays such as Christmas or Thanksgiving boast more extravagant decorations or traditions, Halloween reigns superior due to its unrivaled element of fun and its celebration of all things ghastly and grim, thus separating itself from every other holiday.

One staple tradition of Halloween is dressing up in costumes, from eerie monsters like witches and vampires to beloved characters or even household items. The amount of variety and creativity available in buying or creating costumes makes dressing up a major highlight of the holiday and offers a sense of escapism in disguising one’s identity and pretending to be someone or something else for a day. 

Additionally, the decorations and traditions surrounding Halloween make for frightening fun, a feeling very distinct from the atmospheres of other hackneyed holidays. Watching horror movies, telling ghost stories and visiting haunted houses all contribute to the uniqueness of Halloween. Whereas a holiday like Thanksgiving demands a certain air of seriousness, Halloween is a holiday meant solely for enjoyment and entertainment.

Halloween reigns superior due to its unrivaled element of fun and its celebration of all things ghastly and grim, thus separating itself from every other holiday.

And by far, the best part of Halloween is the candy. Though trick-or-treating may be limited to younger children, the variety of candy on sale during the Halloween season far surpasses the variety at any other times of year. Despite the fact that my memories of trick-or-treating as a lower schooler are fading year by year, I can always look to the sentimental taste of Nerds or Twix to remind myself of the experience — the giddy rush of excitement I got when dumping out my bag of treats, the smiling jack-o-lantern design of my fraying felt tote bag matching my glee. I remember carefully arranging each pack of candy in rainbow order and finally gazing upon the magical, colorful array of sugar with eager eyes. That indescribable feeling of unconstrained joy has stuck with me, past all the platitudes of past Christmases and Thanksgivings. Although Thanksgiving does help families express gratitude, Halloween allows time for us to let loose, build those special trick-or-treating moments and escape from reality for even just one night. 

But Halloween has delightful, yet frightful, treats other than candy. Caramel “poison” apples, mummified hot dogs, tangerines made to look like pumpkins or plastic gloves filled with kettle corn — the possibilities of what can be changed into spooky, Halloween-inspired food are endless, and making these snacks with a creepy twist only makes them taste better.

The candy, the spookiness and the pure fun are timeless aspects of Halloween; they have cemented themselves as integral parts of many of our childhoods. Halloween appeals to all ages; it fills a pumpkin-sized hole in our hearts that Thanksgiving just doesn’t have the nostalgia or lightheartedness to match.