Unmasking Halloween


By Heather Angiletta

I don’t fit into Halloween anymore.

I’m in the awkward Halloween age where dressing up like a sexy devil or nurse would be a little uncomfortable for everyone. Early adult sexy fun Halloween isn’t right for me anymore, but yet I don’t have kids and can’t do the little people trick or treating thing.

I loved sexy adult Halloween. I loved doing big hair, bringing on the make-up, wearing tight short polyester costumes and shoes I will never ever wear again. I loved the confidence that comes with a night being a different version of myself. What I loved most is the lack of inhibition that comes with everyone being in costume. Halloween breaks down all social boundaries and inhibitions and people are just so much cooler and more fun. And funnier, why is everyone so much funnier on Halloween?

Halloween parties are always the most fun. No awkward issues of who knows who. Parties are friendlier, people more open, with a universally shared intention to have a good time. Halloween is a night when disguising ourselves actually gives many people the chance to be who they really are. There are easy conversations starters (hey, love your costume), you can’t really see who anyone is, and everyone has decades of fun on this night engrained in their memory and conditioning.

That guy who grumbles at work and won’t make eye contact? On Halloween he is dressed as Batman and you might be Batgirl and you laugh into the night. Maybe you are dressed as Hillary (ok, not sexy adult but I also love funny timely adult Halloween) and you see Donald. You two might mockingly spar and then do shots.

Halloween isn’t like other holiday parties. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, what religion you are, or whether you actually can handle going home and hanging out with your parents. Halloween greets you with open arms into an anonymous mass of fun.

And then you have kids. Or your friends have kids. Or your neighbors have kids. Some shift happens where instead of you scheming over brunch with your girlfriends about your Grease Pink Lady outfits conversation becomes focused on what the kids will be wearing. Which usually is some cartoon character I have never heard of (I am part of the tiny minority who has never seen Frozen).

Cute kid Halloween is also awesome, nearly as much as sexy adult Halloween, obviously in a very different way. Watching those little emerging egos take on an identity of their heroes and blossom with confidence and sass is pretty spectacular. Nothing could quite be as cute as little toddling monsters with plastic pumpkins wobbling down the street determined to conquer the candy of their next door step. I love that it is happening but participation in it makes me feel like the spinster aunt who forgot to use her ovaries. Whoops!

I feel too old and weird to just dress up and hit a bar with girlfriends now. Admittedly my confidence might elevate with some thigh high boots and a cape. But it’s not that I can’t go, Halloween is the most fantastically inclusive evening of our culture. It’s just not that fun anymore. It’s mating game on crack and that’s not where I am. I would love to have a time machine back to the time where I really enjoyed casual hook-ups and didn’t care about the character or depth of the person behind the mask, but sadly I do (dammit).

It is time to take a break from Halloween. We have had a great run and I am its biggest fan. But we just don’t connect anymore and I don’t want to keep forcing things. Maybe I’ll be back…. When I have kids…. When I want to be sassy and sexy at some other age…. But I’m not feeling it right now.

Instead I am going to the opposite of my Halloween’s past and attending a silent meditation retreat for the weekend. Rather than putting a mask on I will tear down whatever costumes I still wear. Instead of going loud and social I will go silent and internal. This might be the scariest Halloween yet.

Heather is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

Photo by Briana Tozour on Unsplash

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