One Introvert’s Thoughts on Halloween
Halloween is a holiday beloved by all age groups: kids get free candy, twentysomethings use it as an excuse to drink and party (as we do just about any event or holiday), parents get to play dress up with their children (and/or pets), and others stay home to ooh and aah at all the trick-or-treaters in their adorable little costumes.
When you’re young, you spend your Halloween wandering a neighborhood and asking strangers for free food (though I hesitate to classify the processed candy we Americans adore as food). And once you get too old for trick-or-treating, you simply switch to costume parties and themed games at work or among friends. Good times are had by all, young and old.
Except not. Because as it turns out, we all have different desires, perspectives, beliefs, and dislikes. And one of my dislikes is…Halloween! Now before you scoff at me and roll your eyes, just give me a few minutes (or the length of this blog) to explain why.
Dear Halloween, I’m Just Not That Into You
For extroverts, Halloween is a fun-filled holiday with exciting activities like pumpkin carving, costume competitions, and corn mazes. But excitement is not the emotion that I, as an introvert, feel whenever October 31st rolls around. In fact, I didn’t even particularly enjoy Halloween as a child. When I was young, my trick-or-treat excursions consisted of cowering behind my parents while my younger sister marched right up to the door — and on inside once it opened. And my reaction then still holds.
Being introverted, I don’t generally like to draw attention to myself (unless I’ve turned into my drunk alter-ego). So of course I don’t particularly enjoy dressing up in costumes. Nor do I enjoy basically any of the other activities that Halloween lovers perform like it’s some sacred ritual. My idea of celebrating is to make it look like I’m not home and curl up with a good book or binge my latest Netflix obsession (a.k.a. how I wish I could spend all of my time).
Call me Debbie Downer if you like, but I don’t get why I should spend my hard-earned money on overpriced candy (that instantly becomes cheaper once the clock turns to 12:01 am). And I’m supposed to give it away to random children just because they’re wearing costumes?!? I think not. I’d rather eat it myself — but I can’t, because I would instantly regret that decision. So even the whole stuffing-my-face-with-candy part doesn’t appeal to me.
To summarize my gripes about the holiday, I’ve made a handy table. Here’s some clarification on exactly why I feel the way I do about popular Halloween activities:
When Did Halloween Become Mandatory, Anyway?
I have zero issues with the idea of Halloween (setting aside the fact that it’s a gross misinterpretation of the original concept, in true American fashion.) But what I don’t get is why I’m required to have an exciting answer to the inevitable question of “what are your Halloween plans?” or “what are you dressing up as?” Whenever I tell someone I dislike dressing up for Halloween and don’t plan on doing so, I feel judged. Coworkers have even tried to pressure me into participating — “C’mon, it’ll be fun! Everyone’s doing it!”
My whole life it’s been communicated to me that dressing in costume is not just a fun thing to do but the norm — and you get called out if you don’t want to participate. But since when did putting on a costume become mandatory for people to be viewed as fun or approachable? If an introvert came up with the idea for Halloween, you know we’d all be at home reading books and sipping tea while we sent kind thoughts to our ancestors.
I mean, we encourage kids to internalize this behavior from a young age. I remember at my elementary school how every year we would have a parade that basically consisted of us children walking in a line around the school perimeter while wearing costumes. Sure, kids look adorable in Halloween costumes. But why are we teaching our children that they need to dress up to fit in? We should be teaching them compassion for people who have different emotions, needs, and opinions. (Side note: How is trick-or-treating still a thing? We’re basically teaching kids to beg for things.)
I’m not keen on Halloween, but it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. I dislike dressing up because of my introversion (and feel apathetic about the other stuff because of my personal feelings regarding holidays). But other people may have their own reasons for disliking Halloween or not participating — and they’re allowed to! So I think it’s time we transform Halloween back into a holiday for everyone to enjoy in whatever way they choose to celebrate — costumed attire and pumpkin carving optional 🎃.
’Til next time!