It’s late October, and the Halloween complaints have set in. “Oh, those people with their gourd-flavored lattes!” you grumble in the line at La Colombe. “It’s just an excuse for everyone out there to dress like a skank!” your colleagues mutter into their Chipotle. But though you may call it basic and boring and bland, I will not. Like a jack-o’-lantern lit by a battery-operated tealight because I am terrified of burning down my apartment, I am a beacon of approval, shining with love for the madness that will soon fall upon us.
When else is it acceptable for a person to consider spending $30 on a hot-dog costume for a dog she does not yet own? What other time of year can you Snapchat a Sexy Pizza Rat drunkenly cannibalizing herself outside a dollar-slice storefront? When else are skeletons so rampantly available that you can pose next to one and shout, “HEY, LOOK, IT’S ME AND MY GOAL WEIGHT!” on nearly every street corner?
Halloween is the ideal holiday. All you need to do is throw on a pair of devil horns and the world opens itself up as an all-you-can-eat sugar buffet with no admission charge. What, accepting endless free gifts from every receptionist in town is basic? You can slam it, sure, but remember you’re essentially being treated to a 12-course bodega-binge dinner for free. And you can dress for this dinner however you want — no cocktail attire required.
While we’re at it, let’s take it easy on the slut-shaming, shall we? We spend so much time being disappointed in actresses and musicians for not living up to our feminist ideals, but remain steadfast in tearing down tipsy 20-somethings for wearing short-shorts. If we want to live in a world where women are treated with respect, we can’t look down on a girl dressed like a sexy cow because she’s giving the milk away for free. If I were 22, had a body from the final days of my childhood metabolism, and could pull off a furry black bath mat as a dress, you could be damn sure I’d be going as the Sexy Ghost of Jon Snow. Haters, step aside!
It really doesn’t matter how you dress — as a leopard-print-clad Cookie from Empire or, simply, a cookie — because Halloween parties are the only holiday function that can truly level the playing field. Without Halloween, I’d never know the joy of a full-grown man running around a party in a bloody tampon costume. I’d never know how good I look as an elderly woman. Great costumes, especially clever costumes, make everyone seem more attractive — and every party is more fun when you’re not dressed like yourself.
Even other holidays want to be Halloween. Christmas sweaters are just Halloween costumes dressed up with red yarn and teeny, tiny bells. Thanksgiving’s best dessert is made with the scraps from Halloween’s porch decor. The most notorious Fourth of July Instagrams involve dressing your pool up like an oversize concession stand.
Yet I adore Halloween most of all because it’s inclusive. It’s the only nondenominational holiday wherein one can decorate one’s home, office, and minivan windows in a truly nonreligious spirit. And there’s no such thing as too young, too old, or too broke for Halloween. Don’t have much money to spare? Pass out bulk mix! Want to blow it out, baller-style? You can literally become Chewbacca.
Whether you know the one-and-done joy of squeezing into matching pizza costumes from the kids section at Target or gain pleasure from building a full-squad DIY ode to Lisa Frank, there’s something for every predilection. For anyone under the age of 12 with a leftover dance-recital costume and a pail, it’s a bender; for responsible adults, it’s an endless sugar-coma-inducing fiesta bathed in orange soda.
Hell, even bad Halloween is still good Halloween. Growing up, I could never decide who was worse: the elderly man who gave me four pennies each time I rang his doorbell, or the lady with Raisinets. But I still came home nearly a nickel richer and with more chocolate than my mom would have typically allowed on my fruit.
As an adult, best-case scenario, you wake up one step closer to diabetes with someone else’s The Jinx costume on your bedroom floor. Worst-case scenario, you download Are You Afraid of the Dark?, put on a skeleton earring, and eat about 30 Kit Kats from the bucket on your office mom’s desk. Notice something similar about these two scenarios? They are both awesome.