Halloween is scary movies, carving pumpkins, free candy, and one of the best excuses to go party since Fourth of July. I have always loved Halloween since I was little and I dressed up as Jessie from Toy Story to the time I went to Comic-Con on Halloween weekend dressed as the Cowardly Lion. Plus, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. In my house, candy trading is a strict business. There are no fun and games when it comes down to the last Snickers. But Halloween isn’t always as it seems, and as with everything in life, there are pros and cons.
One pro I love is that on Halloween, the whole neighborhood seems to be closer. I have always dubbed Halloween as the beginning of that lovely time of year where it almost seems like everyone is watching over each other. I see teenagers sharing candy with little kids. Parents talking pictures of their children and their friends. At my school, I participate in Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat- a program where I collect canned goods on Halloween to donate them to the local food pantry.
But, while I wish every neighborhood was like mine, I realize not all neighborhoods are. There are neighborhoods where kids’ parents have to check their candy for razor blades before they eat it. Where small children are told to watch out for teenagers who will take their candy. Where houses are covered in toilet paper and spray paint, tires slashed and pumpkins smashed. The world is not perfect, and Halloween has a tendency to emphasize that.
Dressing up is one of my fondest memories of Halloween. I’ve gone as Laura Ingalls Wilder, as Felicity from the American Girl Dolls, Jessie from Toy Story, a Penguin, and this year I’m going as Russell from Up. My sister adores superheroes and has dressed up as Thor and American Dream. All of my friends and I this year coordinated and we are all going as different Disney characters. I love seeing all of the creative costumes walking the streets, especially homemade ones.
But sometimes costumes go too far. Blackface and cultural appropriation are often disregarded on Halloween because of the nature of the holiday. While it is true that in some ways our society does seem to be hypersensitive, impersonating another person’s religion or culture seems to be done and with little to no respect. I personally have grappled with the question how far is too far, when it comes to Halloween. I don’t think blackface is appropriate by any means, but what about the little girls who want to be Mulan or Pocahontas? Those little girls aren’t trying to disrespect a culture, they just want to be like the Disney characters they look up to.
I’ll leave you with this. Halloween is a fun, exciting night, but like everything that is fun, one needs to be safe. Be kind, be in the spirit of Halloween- not in the spirit of disrespect or malice. Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. You’re dressing up as someone else, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t yourself: a responsible, kind, smart person. Leave the negative stuff with the rotten pumpkins, and focus on PSL’s, colorful leaves, spooky movies, and fun times with candy and friends. I’m READY for a great night, how about you?