The ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain was a celebration of the new year, when people would light fires and act spooky to ward off spirits. Now, this archaic tradition has been replaced by purple, orange and black decorations; costume parties; and crappy movies.
Don’t get me wrong, I had fun dressing up as a pirate and a ninja for Halloween when I was a kid. Mid-October meant it was time for my mom to drive me to Party City and buy a $25 costume so I could go out with my friends and collect candy from the neighbors. My friends and I would spread out our candy on the floor at the end of the night and host a sweet and sour auction as I gave up a handful of lollipops in exchange for M&Ms and Snickers.
However, I also had fun competing in the fourth grade Spelling Bee, playing kickball at recess and playing with action figures. At no point have I considered bringing any of those nostalgic activities back into my life or trying to revamp them by adding alcohol and wearing promiscuous outfits because I grew up.
The culture around Halloween is so tongue-in-cheek that it hurts. The movies are cringy, the costumes are gaudy and the decorations are nonsensical. We decorate our porches with rotting jack-o’-lanterns and cover our lawns with fake cobwebs and giant inflatable Frankenstein monsters because if you don’t do it then your neighbors will look at you funny.
Between costumes and decorations and bags of candy, we will spend $8.8 billion on Halloween according to the National Retail Federation. And, if you don’t decorate your home with hideous visuals and help kids get cavities, you’re a two-months-early Grinch.
Unlike holidays like Christmas, Fourth of July or Thanksgiving, there’s no overarching message being sent on October 31. It’s not about being thankful or giving or celebrating any historical achievement. Halloween is just a national day of gluttony and spending with a poorly-thought-out color scheme, giving a spike in business to the niche market of distaste.
In short, the only thing spooky about spooky season is how overrated it is.Underrated – Zane Nogueras
As a kid, Halloween is one of the greatest days of the year. Everyone dresses up in unique and creative costumes, either individually or in groups, and you and your friends get to go door to door collecting a seemingly endless amount of candy. While it can be remembered fondly, Halloween seems to lose its luster as we age. Many college students seem to disregard the holiday entirely, but Halloween is vastly underrated and can be even more fun on campus than it was back in grade school.
For the thrill seekers, there are many haunted houses to visit with varying levels of fear-inducing scares. There are also historical tours, such as the haunted tour of the oldest house in New York City, the Morris-Jumel Mansion. For those that like to get their thrills in a more passive way, different groups will host horror marathons, and in some places like Redbank you can see a live performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Unlike the one-and-done days as children, Halloween in college lasts nearly an entire week, with costume parties and celebrations of the spooky season on the weekends of either end of the holiday. Many fraternities will have large Halloween-themed costume parties that attract a variety of students, even people who generally would not party. In New York, there are many Halloween parties, with notable ones being the “Warehouse of Horrors Music & Arts Festival” in Queens and the “Village Halloween Parade” in Greenwich Village.
An underrated perk of Halloween is the week after, when stores rush to clear room for the upcoming Holiday season and any remaining Halloween supplies and candy become increasingly discounted (CVS sells for up to half off).
Halloween is a fun holiday during the peak of the best season of the year. It has activities for all kinds of people: haunted houses and costume parties for thrill seekers; movie marathons and live shows for the casual Halloweeners; pumpkin picking and carving for the less spooky inclined; and incredible post-holiday treat deals for the sugar addicts. Overall, Halloween changes as you get older, but there is still fun to be had while in college and beyond.