Oct 30, 2012

Halloween: how much is too much?

When Halloween becomes Halloweek, maybe it’s time to re-assess the holiday

Adam Sadinsky

Halloween: how much is too much?
Oppan Gangnam Style. (ibtimes.co.uk)

These kids have no idea what they’re missing. If someone told me when I was a child that as I got older, Halloween would get progressively longer I’d have smiled a smile big enough to rival a late October full moon. You might not have seen the smile because I would have been covered with a white sheet with eyes cut out—an extremely frightening ghost—but it would have been there. As I have gotten on in age, Halloween has in fact gotten longer. It has also become the target of much of my post-midterm frustration.

When you’re young, Halloween takes place on the 31st day of October, not before, not after—just one day. It also only takes place at night, specifically in the hours that the parents in your neighbourhood deem it safe to roam the streets. In university, Halloween includes every day deemed appropriate by McGillians for going out—essentially every day but Tuesday and Wednesday —within a week of Hallow’s Eve. Some students have even taken to calling this period of festive costuming as ‘Halloweek.’ This year, Halloween falls on a Wednesday, directly between two weekends. I wouldn’t be surprised if I see superheroes, political figures, and sexy [insert word here]s walking through the ghetto even after the calendar has turned to November. It’s all just too much.

The sheer length of this ‘holiday season’ affects another one of my gripes with Halloween: the stressful process of deciding on and creating multiple costumes. Who would be caught dead strutting in a dollar-store pirate outfit twice? The aforementioned buccaneer must also dress as a binder full of women, a police officer, and Bjorn Borg in order not to look like they’ve worn the same thing twice. Thought coming up with one great costume idea was tough? Try doing it four times.

And don’t do what everyone else is doing. Rehashing a costume you wore when you were seven years old (but likely sexualizing it a tad) is fine, but no one will compliment you on your getup. You think you’re clever and cultured by emulating a big newsmaker or internet meme? Ask anyone who dressed as a Chilean miner in 2010 or ‘the 99 per cent’ in 2011 how clever they felt when they realized that they were just as creative as about 99 per cent of the population.

Do something too out there though, and you risk being questioned all night about what you are. Dressing up as Mitt Romney as CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympics shows that you are creative, and have read a couple of articles in the New York Times. Then again, you’ll be explaining all night that you’re “not just Mitt Romney” and pontificating that there’s more to the Republican candidate than meets the eye—probably not.

And what’s the point of it all anyways? As a trick-or-treating kid, everyone respects your costume—whether it’s unique, dated, or on the wrong side of the political spectrum—and there’s a solid reward for your hard work: candy. When a kind soul at Sunday’s Alouettes game tossed out candy to the spectators, I was reminded that there used to be an end to the madness, the equivalent of getting presents after a long month of enduring cheesy holiday music. Once you get to the point where your costume reflects how much you know or how little you can wear, the rewards disappear.

But you do it because you have to and because everyone else is doing it. So I’m going to put on my suit and oddly shaped sunglasses and dance like I’m riding an invisible horse. Everyone else might be dressed as Gangnam Style’s PSY, but I came up with it first. You’re all unoriginal. Happy Hallo-two-weeks and remember that we used to get candy for this!

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