Adult fans of anthropomorphized puns, excuses to look hot, and—fresh off the presses this year!—topical TikTok reenactments find themselves in a conundrum almost annually: when is the best time to celebrate Halloween?
If you are one of these aforementioned individuals with a passion for fashion, flexing your creative muscles, and having people pay attention to you, you likely know that Halloween is on a Thursday this year (if you're reading this in the future and this website has been stripped of key identifying details as it feels inevitable that it will be, it's 2019). This puts us, the Halloween celebrating public, in a particularly challenging situation: the holiday is not on a weekend—which would make it easy to celebrate—and it's temptingly close to the weekend after, which is in November. That weekend is, as you may have noticed by now, after October ends, and in an entirely different month, a month when we're transitioning a batch of events commonly referred to with a sigh as "the holidays" (specifically, Thanksgiving, a topic for another time).
Halloween is less of a problem if the 31st falls on a Monday or a Tuesday. But by the time we get to Wednesday (as we did last year; remember that? When the streets were crowded with people you knew dressed up as Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson?) things get weird. The celebrating is torn: are you supposed to hold or attend a party several days before Halloween, jumping the gun, or after it, when the children are trying to scrounge away the remnants of their candy hauls before their mother takes the rest to the office for her unworthy coworkers?
The answer is simple, if still the topic of much discussion. You will likely be forced to have or attend a "Halloween" party after Halloween, but you shouldn't, because Halloween parties should always be on Halloween or the weekend before if Halloween does not fall on a weekend. (Never any earlier than that. Even when we're dressing up as monsters, we're not actually monsters.)
The energy once Halloween is over dissipates with each piece of that candy eaten or stolen away, flagging considerably. To divide the holiday into two weekends divides the energy, introducing new problems into the equation: four nights for partying, not two, which introduces the question of whether one needs more than one costume, when one perfect one will be much stronger than multiple weaker ones, or one very strong one and one dashed-off, low-effort ensemble. I supposed the closest comparable holidays with these issues are Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day, but given that both are fake and require an over-fixation with alcohol or love or both, they're not fitting comparisons.
Many reputable sources have weighed in on this problem over the years. "Halloween party after Halloween - would anyone go?" someone on the website Halloweenforum.com, which is apparently devoted to "Keeping the Halloween spirit alive 365 days a year," asked over a decade ago. As you might imagine, the participants in that space are in favor doing Halloween whenever you'd like to—even March! Last year, when Halloween was on a Wednesday, Elite Daily proclaimed, "The general consensus in the Twitterverse is that Halloween should be celebrated during the weekend before and the weekend after Oct. 31." According to whom?! (This piece also made another grave error, by using the term "Halloweekend," a term that does exist but is not canon.)
More depressingly, in a space we have come to rely on for queries such as this, "Will you go out for Halloween the weekend before or after it (since it's during the week)?" has one response on Quora, and it is "The weekend before I will be both recovering form surgery and packing to move out of state. The weekend after, I will still be recovering from surgery AND will have just moved to another state. I will not be going out." A poll aggregated without a link on iHeartRadio.com in 2017 from "Blog Daily Herald" notes "We found one survey that asked that very important question, and the answer is . . . 72% of people want to celebrate this weekend. The other 28% say, 'Don't judge ME, society' and would throw on a costume for a party on November 3rd or 4th."
There are a two other solutions to the Halloween problem, none of which I think will be taken very seriously. The first would be to get a half day on the 31st to properly support trick-or-treating and partying, and a whole day off on the 1st to recover. Unfortunately, Halloween isn't New Year's, and we're not celebrating resolutions we'll never properly implement. On Halloween, we're only pretending to be people and things we'll never be, so I can't even consider this possibility. The second would be to make the last Friday or Saturday of October always Halloween, much in the way Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday in November. But this is another executive decision I doubt would every really be fully accepted; besides, isn't the date the 31st full of a decidedly spooky vibe?
This leaves us with only the option of embracing the latter idea generally, saying "no" to fully-fledged so-called Halloween parties the weekend after the 31st when we are invited to them. Be the change you wish to see in the world, as fellow peacemaker himself Gandhi absolutely never said.
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