Someone asked me once why I like Halloween so much. I had to ponder that for a while, pull it apart and figure out the main causes of my love of this particular holiday.
It starts with safe scares. I enjoy being scared, but not in a truly dangerous way. I don’t go to places where bad things may happen, I don’t put myself in precarious situations very often (unless necessary), I try to watch what I do and where I am at all times, and I don’t watch Real Housewives as I fear losing actual brain cells. I like the kind of fear that I feel in watching a scary movie, going through a good haunted house or riding a roller coaster. Granted the roller coaster may not be 100% safe, but I can assume most parks maintain their rides well. Scary movies, roller coasters, other thrill type rides, these provide me with fear that produces adrenaline. That adrenaline gives me a little rush, just enough to make me sharp and focused.
Candy! This is a simple concept. I like candy. There’s a lot of it around during this time of year. Granted, that candy extends all the way through the Christmas season, but it starts around Halloween. Good stuff in small packages. It’s not like all candy mystically removes itself from the shelves during other times of the year, but there’s something about candy during the holiday season. It’s just better.
Special effects. I have always been fascinated by good special effects (practical, not digital). I remember watching “Night of the Living Dead” with my mother on TV at the tender age of seven. She refused to watch it alone, and my father was at work. I recall her eyes being covered the entire time, but all I could do was marvel at the effects. Admittedly, the effects were few and far between (it’s much more about the humans than the zombies), but what George Romero managed to do with a limited budget was amazing. I started watching sci-fi and horror with an eye towards trying to figure out how they were made. In 1979, my mother took me to see Alien in the theater. I recall, yet again, seeing her cover her entire face with her hands (a theme throughout her life when it comes to scary films). I, however, was in complete heaven watching the chest-burster. I was horrified and scared, but also fascinated. I pondered the special effects for days until I could get my hands on a magazine that had an article on the movie (probably Starlog). To this day I do the same thing. If I know the effects are practical, I think about how they’re achieved. And did you know that most of the effects in Prometheus were practical??!! I love Ridley Scott. (you’re all rolling your eyes right now at the level of nerdiness that just occurred).
Décor. I dig Halloween décor. It’s cool, colorful, and fun, especially if it’s vintage or has skulls.
Costumes. My inner cos-player/LARP’er gets to come out full force during this season. I’ve already dressed as a zombie two times (with a third on the way), and I’m doing a full “day of the dead” makeup for Halloween night. I’ve worn every costume from goldfish to queen. I love them all. I get to be someone else, act differently and just have fun. I don’t actively cos-play or LARP, but it sure is fun to do during the month of October.
It’s getting cooler. That’s the other thing. Where I live, it’s about 900 degrees for most of the year. I mean it’s the kind of hot that can cook eggs on the sidewalk. No joke, I saw someone do an experiment here one year where they put eggs on their dashboard in the middle of summer. Those darned things cooked. I’m not a huge fan of the heat, and October signals the beginning of a four month cool down (before it starts getting magma level hot again). There’s always a slight breeze that brings with it a crispness. We can open the doors and windows and turn off the AC (yay! A power bill under triple digits!). I can bake without fear of spontaneously combusting, a worry I have in the summer months.
I have no problem with any other holiday. I enjoy them all for different reasons (some based on faith, some based on just being fun), but this particular one has my imagination like no other.