Why Halloween is Hands Down the Best Holiday

 

The debate over which holiday is the best has raged on since the beginning of time. (Oh yes, I did just break the oft-repeated essay-writing rule against hearkening back to the beginning of time in your introduction. But seriously, this debate has gone on forever.) Personally, I believe that Halloween is without a doubt the best holiday, and I’ll tell you why. 

  1. 1. The Lore

    In my humble opinion, Halloween has the best lore of all major holidays. Let us compare, shall we? Christmas features a jolly old man named Santa Claus delivering presents to nice children and coal to naughty ones. A great incentive for making children behave, I must oblige, but after the age of seven we all figure out that this jolly old man is really just our parents, and Christmas loses some of its magic. The same goes for Easter; we figure out that the chocolate eggs we’ve dug up in festive hunts were not hidden by a sentient two-legged bunny (the two-legged thing really should have raised our suspicions), but by well-meaning adult humans. “My life has been built on lies,” we think to ourselves, “and now it is time for me to become a sad, hardened adult who believes in nothing.” 

     

    Halloween is different. It is said that on Halloween, the barrier between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, which means that the two can communicate. Even if you don’t consider yourself superstitious, even if you don’t believe in spirits or ghosts, there is some part of you, deep inside, that wonders: What if? You can’t believe in Santa or the Easter bunny anymore, but there is at least a small part of you that can believe that the souls of the deceased drift around on Earth among the living. You wouldn’t get scared by ghost stories and horror movies if you didn’t, would you now? Halloween lore is something an adult can believe in; it can reawaken the disappointed child inside every one of us and make us think that maybe, just maybe, there is some magic in this world. 

    red haired witch saying I'll put a spell on you
  2. 2. The Aesthetic

    I don’t know about you, but I think Halloween has the best aesthetic out of all other holidays. Let’s face it: the Christmas aesthetic is just gaudy and overdone, with its blinding excess of glitter, shine, and ubiquitous green and red tchotchkes. I refuse to believe that green and red are complementary colors-- they are just cliché as a combination at this point and have shattered the color wheel to bits. And don’t get me started on contemporary minimalist Christmas decor, with its terribly repressive and soul-sucking color scheme of forest green, brown, gold, and white. How could anyone prefer either the tacky green-and-red palooza or the sterile minimalist funeral that is Christmas to the gothic, enigmatic, sultry Halloween aesthetic? There is something so alluring about the Halloween color palette-- wine red, ebony black, misty navy… (although we do lose some points in terms of artistic merit for orange). And what about the dress? Wouldn’t you much rather dress up as an entrancing, shadowy vampire or witch over the disgustingly wholesome Santa, Mrs. Claus, or their elves? Not to mention the iconography; spiderwebs, skulls, and black cats have a kind of sophistication that lit-up trees, snowmen, and candy canes can simply never aspire to. As for other holidays, I have to make a concession to Easter, ‘cause there’s just no denying the beauty of pastels. But Saint Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve, Thanksgiving...? Tacky, tacky, tacky.

    Carved pumpkin on table with candles
  3. 3. The Integrity

    In recent decades, all major holidays including Halloween have been heavily commercialized. Companies capitalize on the holiday season to sell us useless gifts and decor in the case of Christmas, and cheap costumes and mountains of candy for Halloween. Despite the consumerism behind modern-day Halloween festivities, I would venture to say that, in some ways, it’s the least commercial holiday, and that it has managed to keep some semblance of integrity in the face of capitalistic influences. (For a competing perspective, check out my friend Giulia’s article on consumerism and Halloween.)

     

    Sure, many people buy readymade costumes, but a lot of people put together their costumes with items purchased from the thrift store as well. Lots of people also sew or make costumes from scratch of super unique characters or creatures, or even paint their faces with unique and intricate designs. The creative spirit and individuality of Halloween isn’t completely dead, which I don’t think can be said for Christmas. After all, how often do people gift each other things they’ve made themselves? How often do these gifts actually show a deep understanding and appreciation of who the receiver is? How often are they actually useful and not forgotten about the next day? How often do we really make our own tree decorations or Christmas wreaths? Don’t get me wrong, Halloween is still a pretty commercial holiday, but I think it has stayed closer to its humble, folksy and crafty roots than most other holidays.

    Two Ghosts Standing in Front of a Brick Wall

Happy Halloween! Enjoy its minimally commercial character, eerie aesthetic, and hair-raising lore while it lasts.