Bring back the Halloween fun

Cameron Dillefeld, Opinions Writer

Halloween was this Thursday, and I hope all Leathernecks had a good one and attended celebrations.

This spooky holiday has been practiced in America since its earliest days in the colonies. Halloween originated as a Celtic tradition in Britain almost 2,000 years ago. It was a tradition of bonfires and costumes to scare away evil spirits. It really came into its modern form in the 1950s after a crack down on vandalism and a social push to aim the holiday towards children. Halloween has become a nationwide holiday, challenging the same levels of participation as the 4th of July and Christmas. A recent survey reported that an increase of Americans, especially millennials, buying costumes for their pets. Twenty percent of Americans gave their pets costumes in 2018, up from sixteen percent in 2017.

The goal of my article here is to address the countless critics of Halloween costumes and accusations of racial insensitivity and cultural appropriation. A Toronto newspaper warned people to not be surprised to see “triggering” costumes like Native American headdresses, hula skirts and mexican sombreros or ponchos. If anyone is brave enough to wear a hula skirt in the frigid temperatures of a late October night, I say let them. Wearing those costumes are a way to celebrate the many cultures of the world. Now, if a person dressed as one of these groups and began to belittle them with insults, I see this as a completely different scenario.

There is a difference between a costume and racist remarks. Most of the people wearing these costumes are not trying to put out any sort of message; it’s for fun! This year went as a prison inmate. Does this mean I’m trying to make a political statement on prison reform in the U.S.? Of course not, I chose it because it was fun to make and compare to other costumes. St. Patrick’s Day has been a holiday in the U.S. for many years: the day we wear green and many adults ingest unhealthy amounts of alcohol. I have yet to see any Irish citizens take such offense as Halloween critics do. The same can be said for Cinco de Mayo. Is it a day to listen to Mexican music, go out to Mexican restaurants and drink margaritas till the sun goes down, or is the entire country trying to throw shade and make fun of Mexico and Mexican Americans? The same way these holidays are about celebrating different cultures, Halloween is about celebrating our creativity and collective American culture.

Halloween in the American context has always been about having fun and spending time with our friends and family. It is not a place for politics and outrage. This way of politicizing of holidays always ends in hurt feelings and useless insults. Don’t be that guy at the Thanksgiving table or at Halloween parties. Let’s leave the politics out of it and enjoy ourselves during joyful times like our national holidays.