I thought about this recently as I read an article that stated Halloween has overtaken Valentine’s Day to become the UK’s third biggest yearly event. I also see my kids obsessing – still – over Halloween videos on YouTube and it’s mid-December! Also, with Christmas coming up and so much excitement about presents, I can clearly see a different type of instinctive excitement at Halloween, one that is much healthier and creative.
Halloween breeds creativity. From pumpkin carving, face-painting, costume creating, memorising jokes and poems… it’s a hotbed of making, crafting and all-round good fun. Of course you can do all this at Christmas too – we do – but for kids there is an overbearing focus on presents, which in our over-commercialised society breeds all sorts of unhealthy habits.
Sure Halloween is becoming commercialised too, and with sweets-a-plenty. But there are also costumes, out-of-this-world horror make up tutorials on YouTube, jaw-dropping pumpkin carvings and ingenious scary ways of decorating your house. It’s all harmless, creative fun that involves everyone.
It’s so inclusive, you get to dress up in (almost) anything you want, and perhaps one of the biggest draws (though we may not realise it) is that it brings neighbourhoods and communities together. When else do kids willingly pop round to say “hi” to Mrs Brown at number 24? I truly believe that Halloween could be one of healthiest and creative holidays around!
I heard an interesting idea on the radio recently that suggested that the date of Halloween could be moved from a fixed October 31st to the last Saturday in October. Initially I rubbished the thought, but… it would mean kids could properly embrace and enjoy all the creativity and fun – instead of hurriedly going out guising* at 6pm when parents are home from work, tired, and so only get a few hours of enjoyment. I would really really support this date change! Adults too could enjoy their scary parties on a Saturday night without a heavy head at work the next morning.
So in conclusion – Halloween is wonderful and perhaps overlooked as a really healthy way to get creative and come together with friends, family and most importantly, community.
* Guising in a Scottish term which I’m trying to instil in my kids rather than the obnoxious “trick or treating” from over the pond! Children in Scotland would dress up to blend in, disguising, with the evil spirits that would visit houses on this night, and they would be rewarded by the people for helping to ward off the spirits.