Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Halloween

What is this thing that happens to people in October? People get more excited about Halloween than any other holiday. Is it the thrill of pretending to be someone else? To take on a different identity for one night is pretty liberating. Is it the adrenaline rush of being frightened? Surely this has contributed to the popularity of haunted houses and Saw 47. Maybe it’s just an excuse to get completely hammered, since no one will                                                                                         recognize you anyway.

Just for the record, I love Halloween.

This year, Matthew and I got tickets to Moogfest 2010. Which means: a three-day Halloween dance party in a town that’s already full of freaks. It was really fun. I even had an “I love where I live!” moment during Thievery Corporation.

Some popular costumes this year:

  • Double Dare contestants – 8
  • Super Mario Bros. – at least 6 or 8 sets. Come on!
  • Chilean miners – at least 10, really?
  • Waldo/Wilma – at least 4/3 respectively
  • Full-on, double freaking rainbow – 2 (but what does it mean?)

I got to thinking, maybe we should start enjoying the rest of the year even half as much as we enjoy this one weekend. What can we take from Halloween and apply to everyday life?

~Lesson #1: Personality goes a long way~

Ever notice how much fun you have not being yourself for a few hours? The more in character you are, the better time you have, and the best costumes are always those with the most personality. Dress like an old man – eh, just okay. But dress like an old man and act like an old man – now that’s funny. Example: I saw three Carmen Sandiego’s at Moogfest. They just looked like some girls with red hats and coats. But back in Boston, my friend Angie rocked the big sunglasses, yellow scarf, and acted mysterious all night. And she almost won best costume (sorry dude, maybe next year).

~Lesson #2: Stop taking yourself so seriously. Get your goofy on~

When you’re in costume, it’s easier to let down your inhibitions. Wearing a disguise invites you to act a little sillier than usual, and that always feels so good. Even the most grounded, happy people need to cut loose every once in a while. We all get bogged down by the minutia of life – work drama, bill paying, laundry, grocery stores – and it’s nice to take a break. To laugh and act like an idiot. To see what other people come up with and watch them act like idiots. To do whatever feels right to do in that exact moment, without worrying about what people think.

~Lesson #3: You are not in a bubble. Acknowledge all the other people wandering around in this huge life, and start sharing some of it with them~

Think of a Halloween party.  There is a sense of community there that doesn’t exist in the hustle and bustle of daily life. Everybody’s friends, bound together by the commonality of dressing up. You talk to everyone, complimenting their costume or helping someone fix their makeup. The same sort of thing happens at music festivals, religious ceremonies or (sometimes) major sporting events. I’m not making this up; it’s a real phenomenon called Communitas.

~Lesson #4: Do something that scares you every once in a while~

Costumes and silliness aside, there is another aspect of Halloween and it’s my favorite part. The scary part. Creepy music, horror movies, and blood-soaked prom dresses….bring it on. I know it’s not for everyone, but many folks seem particularly drawn to the spooky stuff. When you’re scared, it’s exciting. Overcoming your fear is even more exciting. And if you never do anything that scares you, how can you grow? Pushing past the boundaries of possibility is a daunting task, but it creates limitless possibility in return. Plus…..being scared is an adrenaline rush. It makes your heart beat into your ears and your legs go spaghetti. Does that sound like anything else?

Lesson #5: Pumpkins are delicious and very good for you.

In October, we carve pumpkins to look like faces, light candles inside them and put them on our porches. This year, my dad bought us pumpkins but we never got around to carving them. So I gutted them, roasted them and made pumpkin puree from scratch. Now we will feast on pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread and pumpkin seeds until the next time someone                                               buys us an oversized squash.

~Lesson #6: Sometimes, having no money inspires the greatest ideas~

This year, Matthew and I did not have the time, energy or funds to put toward a Halloween costume. But we couldn’t go as nothing. So we decided to throw something together from our own closets. And that something was….nerds. Nerds! A classic, and people loved it. Matthew got kicked about 1,000 times (probably due to the “kick me” sign I taped to his back). Our costumes really seemed to bring out the Biff Tannen in everyone. We were never expecting so much fanfare for these last-minute, completely zero-dollar costumes, but people actually told us to enter the contest. And even though some folks might have been acting out their old high school aggression, our getups never failed to produce a smile. Moral of the story=everyone loves nerds. Why? Because everyone – every hipster, goth chick, guitar god, seven-time Tour de France winner, prom queen, cocky restaurant owner…everyone has an inner nerd. Some just hide it better than others. Plus, watching nerds dance is always funny.

~Lesson #7: Get in touch with your inner nerd and give him/her some love. Go ahead and geek out~

Some of my favorite costumes this year:

  • Lloyd Dobler
  • Pee-Wee Herman
  • David Bowie from Labyrinth (complete w/baby doll)
  • Hooters guy
  • Twins from the Shining
  • Facebook


So even though it’s only been a week, and Halloween is forgotten as our thoughts shift to winter and holiday time, try to remember the lesson. Put a little Halloween in your day today.



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About Samantha Pollack

In 2010 I abandoned my city-slicker, Bostonian ways in exchange for a life of adventure in Asheville, NC. I'm a book-slaying, cat-owning, olive-loving, trail-running, movie-watching writer and holistic health coach. Hi.
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4 Responses to Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Halloween

  1. Pot, Kettle. I’m not the one who knows everything about Star Trek.

  2. Pingback: You’re Fired! | You Can Take the Girl out of Boston……

  3. Pingback: 2010 in review | You Can Take the Girl out of Boston……

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