“Halloween is like Christmas for me!” This exclamation is often heard around the spooky scene. While many state that every single day is Halloween, October 31st is a very special day in particular. Some, in fact, look forward to it all year long, even more than Christmas. It's a nostalgic time where we reflect on the freedom we had as kids. Pulling the Ben Cooper plastic mask over our faces, zipping up the matching vinyl suit and heading out to roam the dark, misty streets in search of tasty treats. There's a magic in the air on Halloween night that can't be replicated.
Here are a few comparisons as to how Halloween has grown as a holiday to where it's starting to get the “Xmas treatment.” I don't think the Halloween season will ever beat the Christmas craze. We'll never see chain stores selling merchandise in the summer, but the season has come a long way and gained a lot more respect in the world of retail stores.
Halloween vs. Christmas! Bring it on.
DECORATION - The house/apartment gets decorated inside and out. Doors bear black, webbed or eyeball-clogged wreaths, bats soar across the walls, black and orange garland stream along railings, pumpkins and goblins adorn the shelves, spiderwebs are strung from here to there, and tombstones decorate the yard. It's not uncommon to see neighbors competing with each other for scariest outdoor decor or largest front yard graveyard. Halloween decorations are so much cooler than Xmas decor.
CARDS - Have you seen the greeting card sections lately? Just a few years ago, one was lucky to find 3 types of cards to choose from, but now you can find entire sections devoted to Halloween! I've been known to send out Halloween cards in October instead of dealing with the Christmas madness in December. Friends understand. We all have priorities. There are also a ton of sites you can order cards from online, or go the e-card route.
BAKING - Just like late November and December bring thoughts of warm kitchens with sweet aromas wafting throughout the house, late October brings scents of bat-shaped cookies baking in the oven. Pumpkin bread galore, and maybe even some cupcakes topped with a bloody shard of sugar glass.
PARTIES - Halloween parties are probably the biggest part of fulfilling our nostalgia for the holiday. It's also a time when you can be anything you want to be, whether a person, monster or random inanimate object. Anything goes. For one night, you get to switch things up about your appearance, which is exciting. I personally feel it's a time to be creative and maybe send tribute to your favorite movie character in your own special way. I tend to go with grotesque makeup, because it's fun to scare/repulse people, and is the whole point of Halloween to me. Monsters, treats and scares!
HOLIDAY COCKTAILS - Martinis: Pumpkin trumps Peppermint any day. Bright red Christmas cocktails are not as exciting as bloody Vampire drinks.
GIFTS - It's hard to avoid buying your friends the cool candles and spooky trinkets you find in stores like Cost Plus World Market, Marshall's, and Target. In a way, it justifies the fact that you're buying one for yourself. If your pals get one, too, then you're doing a good deed and it's no longer selfish!
MUSIC - Is Halloween music not the coolest thing ever? Christmas carols can get irritating after a while, like elevator music. Besides, “This is Halloween” seems to have become an unofficial, universal anthem for the holiday. Or you may enjoy the amped-up Marilyn Manson version. It kind of rather rocks. “Life's no fun without a good scare...”
MOVIES - Holiday viewing staples. Instead of It's a Wonderful Life, Halloween fans have their own standard viewing “musts” outside of the piles of horror movies available. The traditional films I'm referring to have themes that revolve around or take place on Halloween, like John Carpenter's Halloween, Lady in White, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and fairly recent anthology horror, Trick ’r Treat. Keep your eyes peeled this week for my report on how the October Movie Challenge went!
EVENTS - As you've probably noticed with most of my blog posts, there's no shortage of spooky events in Chicago. Right now especially, we are happily swimming in a sea of Halloween. No life preservers needed.
“This is Halloween! This is Halloween! Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!”
I'll leave you with a photo of the scrumptious Chocolate Chip Coconut Pumpkin Bread I made the other night. Another successful pumpkin experiment! October is the best.