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Avril Brown Presents:

“In the regular world, Halloween is when children dress up in costumes and beg for candy. In Girl World, Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it. The hardcore girls just wear lingerie and some form of animal ears.”

Halloween is without a doubt one of my favorite holidays. The reasons why have changed over the years, but the passion I feel towards this night remains constant. For the young ones Halloween is about acquiring and consuming massive hoards of free candy. Some hit up the haunted houses and scary movies, looking for a bit of Halloween horror to get the adrenalin pumping. For others this night of debauchery is an excuse to dress up, or dress down, depending on your age bracket and personal preference. Yet for all creatures great and small, young and old, Halloween is at its core a night to enjoy pure, undiluted fun.

I have a perpetually hungry sweet tooth. I can throw back sugar packets like they were Tic-Tacs. I’ve had entire meals comprised of nothing but raw chocolate chip cookie dough, and my afternoon snack of choice during my years as a bakery salesperson was heaping spoonfuls of homemade fudge. Is it any wonder why Halloween was, and still remains to me, a holy holiday? As a child there could be no more wondrous concept than that of a night where all you had to do was put on a costume, walk up to someone’s door, smile the smile of youthful innocence and hold out a bag to receive your reward: Free Sugar. I still remember the joy of coming home with a heavy sack full o tasty goodies, spilling them out on the rug with my sister (keeping enough space between our piles so we wouldn’t get into fist fights over whose Reese’s Pieces were whose) and picking which lucky few morsels would not last the night. Every day for weeks there would be another piece or two of delectable candies (usually one chocolate and one other, for variety) in my school lunch, provided by the magical holiday that is Halloween. And my mother, who always packed my lunches.

Then came the awkward tween years, where dressing up in a cutesy costume and going door to door for free handouts was no longer ‘cool,’ but neither was I old or ‘cool’ enough to attend parties. Haunted houses and hayrides were the theme of choice for those few years. Scary movies gave me nightmares when I was younger, but haunted houses gave me a rush. Most likely it was knowing there was an end in sight, usually coupled with a candied apple and laughter, which kept me from freaking out too much when someone or thing jumped out at me from a dark wall. I got the fun kind of scary thrill from walking through a good haunted house, as opposed to the early heart-attack kind of scary thrill I got from horror films, even the unrealistic ones starring demonic dolls armed with butcher knives.

Finally the college years arrived, and costumes were cool again. Oh what delight my friends and I would take in coming up with great Halloween costumes, both individual outfits and group themes. One year my three roommates and I were all Care Bears, each of us sporting little fuzzy ears and a round, white, felt belly showing off our unique Care Bear markings. We threw a rocking party, and everyone from The Sopranos to Silent Bob joined in on the fun. Next year several of us donned white clothes with a ridiculously high marathon number pinned to our backs and went as sperm, chasing the unlucky ovum (who had pillows stuffed up her shirt to give her a rounded look) all around Collegetown, shouting out our personal war cries as we charged the egg. Mine was ‘Fertilize or fuck it!’ We even had a sexually transmitted disease join the group whose costume consisted of red balloons taped to a shirt that read ‘STDs are people too.’

Post-college Halloweens have been all over the board. One year I worked late waiting tables and went home with a pocket full of tips and no desire to party. Another year I flew solo and rented ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer’ for a scary movie marathon. When I do dress up for a Halloween night on the town, however, the costumes I pick now tend to lean more towards ‘hot’ rather than ‘cool.’ The above quote is not an exaggeration. Some women need no excuse to wear as little as possible in public, but others do, and Halloween is that excuse. On every other night folks out at bars and parties may or may not be checking out what you are wearing and judging you. On Halloween night, everyone is checking out everyone’s outfit, and though the judging does not cease (nor will it ever), at least comfort can be found in the fact that it is universal. My own reasoning for going scantily clad is simple: I am a single, twenty-something chick living in Chicago, looking to enjoy these last precious years of possessing a decent figure with minimal effort (thanks for the metabolism, Mom!).

Whether it be a copious amount of candy, an ultimate costume competition, a freaky film fest or a reason to walk out the door half-naked and not get arrested, Halloween means something different to everyone depending on their emotional age and personal interests. As we grow up, our love for this holiday grows and changes with us. Valentines Day is always about being in a relationship, or feeling like crap because you aren’t. Christmas is always about family, presents and for some, religious beliefs. What Halloween is about, however, will always be your choice, making this a custom-fitted, totally awesome, and all-around fun night to be alive.

Avril Brown 

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