Halloween is here. There is no avoiding it, and most are thrilled at the holiday’s arrival, but why?
At the most basic level, fear is not a good thing. It’s designed to tell us when we are in a situation that we should not be in, so why have a holiday celebrating fear?
Anything has the potential to be addictive, and terror is no different. In fact, it’s an easier high to reach than with a lot of other thrill-inducing activities. Fear gets our hearts racing and our adrenaline pumping; it’s a legal high in a very legitimate sense.
The love of that feeling of absolute terrible terror is what compels us to see horror films and haunted houses. They are the “dealers” of this addiction, and a measure of this holiday’s popularity lies in the affordability of this “drug.”
Obviously, the other main aspect of Halloween is the act of dressing up in costumes and asking strangers for candy. The reason for asking people for candy is pretty simple; I personally don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to knock on a stranger’s door and get food every day. But why the costumes and masks on Halloween?
Like most major holidays in the United States, Halloween has its origins in religion. People would wear masks they believed were so terrifying that they would scare off demons from their presence. So why is it still so popular to wear these masks today, scary or otherwise?
We love wearing masks. Every day, we put on a mask to face the world. For some, those masks are closer to one’s own face than others, but we all depend on these social masks. Halloween gives a chance to wear a literal mask, and in a way, hide from ourselves.
One night a year (maybe more depending on your desire to party), we get to dress up as a different person, and even it’s just for a few hours, the worries of our real selves get put on the back burner. Now if there was a ever a reason to celebrate, it’s forgetting about exams for a little while to have a little holiday fun.
So this Halloween, enjoy being absolutely terrified and hiding behind (or from) that Pennywise costume, because the real world is much scarier and not in a good way.