We’ve all heard the complaints about Valentine’s Day: “Hallmark ruined it and now it’s a big gimmick just to make money off making people feel bad.” I am here today to say that I consider Halloween to be an endangered holiday — because Halloween is getting Hallmark-ified.
Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, was once a day to celebrate those that passed on or to remember lost loved ones. Much like the Day of the Dead, it wasn’t necessarily a sad holiday. In fact, it was often celebrated in a lighthearted way.
Now, I have nothing against eating candy, watching scary movies and dressing up for the holiday (though I can’t say I’m a big fan of the latter), but why is that all Halloween is these days?
Why can’t we curl up under a warm blanket enjoying autumn while watching Halloween classics and also spend the day in remembrance of those before us?
I’ll tell you why.
There’s no money in it.
Nobody profits off people spending the day celebrating the dead and the lives they lived. What they do profit from, however, is a holiday-turned-holiweekend full of multiple costumes, mountains of uneaten candy and single-use decorations coating the fronts of homes.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not railing against the holiday as a whole. I’m not trying to convince you to boycott Spirit Halloween and spend the day sobbing.
What I really want is for Halloween to be just a little bit more thoughtful and a little less like Valentine’s Day.
Here are a few tips from a self-identified pretentious jackass on how to make Halloween just a little bit better for everyone:
Maybe… just maybe… pick one costume. I know you’re worried about being judged for not being something different for each of the several days of Halloweekend, but the waste involved with buying several costumes is immense, and I am sure there aren’t that many people that genuinely enjoy going through all that work.
Buy reusable decorations and save them! Too many single-use, made-of-plastic and wrapped-in-plastic items adorn houses and apartments this time of year, all to get tossed in the trash by Nov. 1. It’s wasteful and bad for both the environment and your wallet.
Spend some time remembering those we have lost. Tell stories of someone no longer with us or make a special meal in remembrance of them, but use at least some of your weekend with the original purpose of Halloween in mind.
And finally, please, please, please, please: enjoy yourself. Halloween can often be thought of as a “go big or go home” three-day event of non-stop partying. If that’s what you’re into, then by all means, have a great time. But, for those of us who maybe can’t make it past the stretch in outfits not designed for warmth, make sure you’re putting yourself first. Spend a night in with friends watching scary movies and eating candy, and don’t let Halloween peer pressure you into doing more than with what you’re comfortable.
Put simply: don’t overdo it. I hate seeing piles of Halloween trash in the weeks following Oct. 31, and I can’t imagine you love it either.
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I know that for my Halloween (when I’m not catching up on homework), I’ll be watching The Shining and thinking about those no longer with us that made my life possible.
Don’t let Hallmark and other companies ruin Halloween by making it a gimmick from what it once was.
Let’s make Halloween a holiday again.