The last Halloween I remember partaking in was 3rd grade when I was still in Toronto. I am faint of heart with neither the constitution nor desire for scary movies or haunted houses, so the opportunities of coming face-to-face with zombies at a party or being ambushed on private property aren’t particularly prized. This year, however, I ended up dressing up under the condition that I wouldn’t need to work to hard to make it happen, and I would not sacrifice my warmth on a chilly and potentially rainy day. I decided to go as a “news flash” by taping newspaper to my shirt, putting on a robe on top, and occasionally opening up my robe for a moment. Visual puns shoot for the groan: nothing more, nothing less.
Most of the Halloween parties on-campus were Saturday night, which I decided to skip since they are composed of “Halloween” and “parties.” On Sunday night, I went trick-or-treating in the faculty ghetto with Julie, her roommate, and her roommate’s boyfriend. Given my uneasiness with Halloween, this choice makes even less sense given that I didn’t really want the candy that much, either.
One candy-giver asked us if we weren’t too old to be trick-or-treating. And I kind of thought he was right. My effort in costume-making alone deserved no candy. If I really wanted the candy, I can buy the candy on my own, which probably means that I’m too old now. At one house, an elementary age girl dressed as a cat handed out candy to us. In all, I feel a little guilty about the whole experience, and it’s not quite clear why I enjoyed it so much.
I have quickly ruled out nostalgia simply because as a kid, I seriously just wanted the candy. Otherwise, I don’t see much being inherently good about Halloween. New Year’s is a time to reflect and blow things up, Thanksgiving has the food and company, April’s Fools has fun pranks, and Christmas has the spirit of giving if you incorrectly think that presents aren’t intrinsically good. I accept that costumes and candy might be a big appeal for others, but I wasn’t feeling it.
We had Unspecial Dinner in our House on Saturday night. Special Dinner is a tradition in houses around here to have a themed, dress-up classy dinner, so Unspecial Dinner was costumes and unclassy dinner of In-N-Out and Taco Bell. We had candy at the table, too, and the experience wasn’t particularly significant to me. Take away the costumes, candy, and food, and I think dinner would have been about the same to me.
But not Sunday night. Take away the candy and costumes, and my night was still different than it would have been otherwise. Without those formalities, trick-or-treaters wouldn’t have much reason to be ringing doorbells all evening, but it certainly would be something different. I can’t imagine any other reason I would have been walking around faculty housing with a troop of friends.
Strangely, we ended up at the homes of 2 psychology faculty members, one of whom I see on the stairwell regularly but awkwardly never speak to, and the other who I have talked to once when he was trying to figure out how to arrange furniture in the office he would soon be taking from me. In the latter case, I tried to hide in the back, feeling guilty about the whole experience. But maybe not. Were I to pop into his office randomly and see a bowl of candy, I would have absolutely taken a piece or two. Assuming I had a reason to be there.