Halloween isn’t for everyone. It’s an intense holiday with old traditions and morbid aesthetics. Asking someone who doesn’t care for death, blood, and witchcraft to spend a day celebrating those things is a little much. Imagine being forced to take part in Valentine’s Day.
That said, I’ve met plenty of people who don’t love Halloween, but want to enjoy it. It’s more that they feel they don’t have a dog in that fight, that their own squeamishness or aversion to the dark side makes it so that they can’t love Halloween. They enjoy holidays, parties, and so on, but psychotic killers and shambling zombies aren’t their cup of tea.
But don’t worry—there’s hope yet. Here are five things to remember on Halloween for those who don’t feel at home on Death’s day, but wish they did.
- The morbid aspects of Halloween don’t have to be dark.
Plenty of cultures respectfully honor their dead with celebration. Mexico has the Day Of The Dead. Haitian Vodou practitioners pray to their death gods and ancestors on a regular basis. China has the Ghost Festival, in which the dead are left food and presents. Halloween can be a day in which the dead are remembered not mournfully but fondly. Take a moment on this day to honor those you’ve lost.
- You can be anyone you want on Halloween.
Is there anyone you’ve ever dreamed of being—a character, or famous actor, or historical figure? Halloween gives you a chance to be that person or thing, even if they’re not scary or strange. Think of Halloween as the sanctioned day of playing pretend, when you can play cowboys or spies or anything your heart desires.
- Halloween has the potential to be very classy.
Before it became synonymous with ghouls and maniacs, All Hallow’s Eve was a night celebrated with elaborate dress-up parties, told ghost stories, and played group games around a fire. If the messier side of Halloween grosses you out, make your own Halloween a classy affair. Dress up in your finery and a eye mask and have people over for a seasonal dinner.
- Halloween doesn’t need to be social.
Sometimes, the most fun you can have scaring yourself is alone reading a book by candlelight. Too often, Halloween has a social onus—you have to go to a party, or make a raucous night of it with friends. But there doesn’t need to be a main event to Halloween. Hole up with some scary stories or a classic movie and dig into a plastic pumpkin full of candy. Trick or treat yourself.
- Remember, there’s weirdness everywhere.
Something I love about Halloween is that it’s come to embrace weirdness of all kinds, from two-headed sheep to the Bermuda Triangle. Look around you, in your life and your interests—what’s weird? What could spend one night immersing yourself in? Find that weird corner of your life and have fun with it. If Halloween finds you hunting dinosaur footprints in the desert, then hey, that’s a Halloween won.