Overrated – Nick Merlino
Typically, I hold no gripe with Halloween, but this demi-holiday is not all that society makes it seem like. I say demi-holiday because Halloween is not federally or religiously recognized by any government or religious institution; it is merely another day — another day when workers toil and children fall asleep in stuffy classrooms, peering out of windows at orange and red fall leaves. The fact that very few people are off on Halloween automatically puts it below other holidays that allot breaks in the hectic schedule of the average person.
On top of these issues, Halloween festivities take place in mid-fall. This season is regarded as being a ‘cool’ month as the North American hemisphere begins the transition from summer to winter. The holiday bills itself as being a celebration of various intricate and unique costumes, so why are we celebrating it at this time of year? We are restricting ourselves to costumes made of warmer clothing; we suffer discomfort over not being appropriately dressed for the weather conditions to achieve our ideal costume styles. Halloween should take place during a warmer month, which would allow for a greater freedom of expression in terms of costume design, and everyone would be much more comfortable overall.
Last but not least, the final bridge Halloween dares to cross lies directly within it’s trademark food: candy corn. I am aware of the divisive nature of candy corn — some people love it and others despise it. My personal opinion is that candy corn is a blight on this world, given its overly sweet and tacky nature. It is the staple of candy for Halloween, making its dreaded appearance every year in dollar store confectionary isles.
Despite it upholding the necessary holiday balance that America adheres to from year to year, Halloween is a holiday that gets more love by the general populace than it is worth. For these reasons, I believe it is an overrated holiday. I still think Halloween costumes are cool, though.
Underrated – Evan Markowitz
It’s October! That means only one thing… spooky season has begun. Some may laugh at the idea that Halloween needs a whole month worth of celebration, but think about it this way: What else does October really have to offer? Sure, there’s half of Hispanic Heritage Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, both very important causes, but do either of those have pumpkins? I don’t think so!
In reality, while other holidays do exist in October, I like to think we all know that Halloween is the star of the show. After all, why shouldn’t it be? You get the aforementioned pumpkins, candy, cool costumes and socially distant gatherings with which to share those costumes and candy. That is a lot of fun to be confined to only one night if I’m honest. There’s really no reason that it has to be confined, so I wholeheartedly encourage just spreading Halloween to a whole month, creating spooky season.
Now, I’m not totally sure if I’ve done spooky season justice quite yet, so let’s break down just how much culture exists within the spooky genre of public consciousness. There are movies, books, albums — not just songs, entire albums —, stores, conventions and so much more to possibly fit in one night. This may seem familiar to you. After all, Christmas is very much the same story here. Take a religious holiday that was historically a single day, secularize and consumerize it, slowly scope creep it and finally achieve domination of an entire month or even more. Christmas took not only December but arguably July, months with plenty more going on, so spooky season getting a mere 31 days shouldn’t even cause people to bat an eye!
I want to be clear that I don’t want to discount any holiday’s importance (besides Columbus Day for reasons outside of the scope of this piece) but I do want to highlight the cultural importance of Halloween and, by extension, spooky season. Despite the ongoing global pandemic, 65% of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween in 2021, according to research by the National Retail Federation. Clearly, Halloween has the cultural relevance to get a devoted season.
My final argument, and this one is crucial, is that it really doesn’t hurt anybody to keep spooky season around. Let people have their fun. After all, we have bigger problems to solve than this!