Busted Halo
feature: politics & culture
October 26th, 2010

5 Ways to Celebrate Halloween Without Turning Tricks for Treats

How to make Halloween more fun and less foul



[This article was originally published on October 29, 2009.]

It may sound blasphemous, or at least juvenile, but Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Not that it has anything on Christmas, but it’s definitely in my top three. When I started my life in the ”real world,” especially when I began working at Busted Halo®, I was shocked by some of my coworkers’ low opinions of this day of mirth and mischief.

I grew up in a family of theater people and always loved the fun of getting dressed up and playing crazy characters. So a day when such things were actually encouraged (and rewarded with candy) was always a boon for me (as opposed to the other 364 days when I was just a little strange). But, after spending my first Halloween in NYC I could begin to understand some of the resentment harbored by the Halloween haters against the Halloween hoes.

Halloween in New York is totally other. I have never seen a more drunken debaucherous crowd of naughty nurses, sexy kittens, and dirty [insert anything else you can think of]s in my life. It was disgusting, a little disturbing, but more than anything else, disheartening. What happened to the creative, good wholesome fun I had loved so much as a child?

Looking around the streets of New York last year it seemed it was lost. But, as the night came to an early close, and I headed home to my tiny studio, thankful that no more roving gangs of Elvis impersonators would accost me, something wonderful happened on the subway.

Sitting across from me on the train were a very brave mother — who, like me, missed the memo that no sane person should be out after 10 p.m. on Halloween night — and her two kids, dressed in homemade Timon and Pumba costumes. As we made our trek back to Brooklyn the three of them began singing the soundtrack to The Lion King, with the children acting out their respective parts. Some people on the train looked annoyed, other simply ignored the trio, but most people smiled, reinvigorated by this pure form of play encouraged by the Halloween spirit. At that moment I could see what most of the rest of the evening had been missing: a genuinely creative and fun way to celebrate Halloween. So this year I pledged not to let the Halloween haters or the Halloween hoes get me down, and instead decided to celebrate one of my favorite holidays on my own terms. Here are five tips I intend to use this year to make Halloween more fun and less foul.

  1. Dress like a saint not like a slut. There are two ways to take this advice. First you can literally dress as a saint. For women, St. Joan of Arc is a pretty great option, an empowered female figure complete with chainmail to keep you warm and a sword to fight off those Elvis impersonators I mentioned. For guys, St. George has some good potential as a pair costume, if you can convince a friend to be the dragon you slay — and you get to carry a giant lance too. (I suppose in case those Elvises go after you as well.) If you’re interested in going for the gruesome, forget Freddy Krueger and try St. Sebastian with 12 or so arrows shot into your stomach and chest — or any number of other saints with less than pleasant martyrdoms. In all cases, great Halloween costumes, probably more intense than your ordinary Halloween ghoul, that give you an excuse to learn more about your faith… right before All Saints Day.But if you’re not into the idea of dressing like a martyr, or think your friends will take it the wrong way (listen to our podcast #217 to hear our take on when dressing as a religious is and is not appropriate), at least try to be more creative than a store bought trashy costume that makes you look like you belong to the oldest profession around. This year my friends and I are making our own costumes, a seascape with a boat, waves, sea urchin and lobster (lobster to be played by my dog Shiloh). It’s fun, original, and none of us are planning on being sexy or naughty anythings. (How’s that for something different). Now I’m not saying you have to dress like a prude, but it should be something you wouldn’t mind having your mom see you in either. Let’s be honest, the next day, when the photos go up on Facebook she probably will see it anyway. (It’s rough when parents jump on the social network bandwagon).
  2. Carve out some memories. This year make your Halloween memorable; not one you can’t remember. Have friends over for a fall feast and pumpkin carving. Or go apple picking and spend some quality time outdoors with loved ones. “What better way to celebrate Halloween than with good seasonal food,” says my friend John (age 25) who suggests baking a pie with friends using the apples you pick or the leftover pumpkin. For those in the north, the weather is only going downhill from here, so take the opportunity to spend some much needed time in nature before winter fully takes control.
  3. Be Nice not Naughty. At Halloween, there are always festivals and fairs for children that need volunteers. Go online to see what’s happening in your community and be on the treat giving end of Halloween this year. Also, look for places that take donations of old Halloween costumes for underprivileged kids, and use the opportunity to clean out your closets.If you live in the New York City area and are looking for an opportunity, join me in volunteering at the The Puppetry Arts Theatre’s annual Halloween Carnival, a fundraising event to benefit arts education for local disadvantaged youths. No matter where you live, see what opportunities you can find; you may be surprised by some of the good work that’s going on in your community.
  4. Find some historic haunts. Not only is Halloween a good excuse to dress up, it can also give you an excuse to learn more about where you live (a great thing if you’re new to the community). Busted Halo® intern Kate Hunt (age 22) suggests taking a haunted tour of your neighborhood. If no tour exists, see what you can find out for yourself. Go to your public library and ask the librarian for books written about haunted areas in your town. Then give your friends your own haunted Halloween tour. If your neighborhood is ghost free (bummer) think about creating a party based around an historical ghost story. Ask your friends to dress as characters from the plot and act it out throughout the evening. (Sorry, that’s the theater geek in me talking). If you and you’re friends aren’t the acting type, at least try taking turns telling ghost stories to each other. Trust me, it will be more fun than watching Halloween III for the tenth year in a row.
  5. Get Creative not Crazy. When it comes down to it, Halloween is an excuse to dress up, eat sweets and let your creative side get some much needed time to thrive. Too often, we forget to look outside the boxes of our routines and habits and try something truly different, expressive and good for the soul. So even if you don’t like dressing up and Halloween just isn’t your thing, take the opportunity this October 31 to be creative. Build something, cook a new meal, write a poem, take some photos, draw or paint a picture, or do anything else you can think of to break out of your routine and get out from behind the TV or computer screen. If the only way you think you can have fun on Halloween is by getting plastered and TP-ing your neighbors home, you may need to reevaluate your idea of a good time. Last time I checked, massive hangovers and dealing with a citation for being drunk and disorderly were neither original nor a good way to spend a weekend. Besides, remember, Mom’s on Facebook now.

So don’t be a Halloween hater or a Halloween hoe. Get out this Halloween and take advantage of the opportunity to be different and creative. We don’t get to do that enough once we become grown ups. Happy Halloween!

The Author : Brittany Janis
Brittany Janis, 25, is Busted Halo's development director.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Nancy

    Well Scott, I would like to thank you for your “holier than thou” commentary. It is obvious that you think yourself to be incredibly self righteous and morally sound. In my day I have known many people like you who judge and condemn. Turns out most of them had their own evil little hearts they kept shrouded by their prudence and conviction in “their” interpretation of God’s message. I would suggest you put down your axe of judgement and leave that to God in the end. Perhaps try listening to and understanding those that you condemn. As it turns out most of the ones you judge have harmed and hurt previously and need someone to show them the true glory of kindness and generosity and selflessness. Scott it disappoints me that you have missed the boat on the whole God and morality thing. The world need more love not the kind of hate you spewed above. Good luck to you, I hope you find true happiness and charity some day. God bless.

  • Scott Parker

    I am also responding to Emily’s post: first, it is neither immature, judgmental, or uncharitable to refer to someone who is dressing wantonly/frequenting parties of dubious nature/etc. as a “hoe” or a “slut,” because that is what they are. It would be uncharitable IF she were speaking directly to a person, but she is not. It isn’t judgmental, because these people have made themselves known by their deeds. The way Emily attacks back makes it clear that she can in no way actually counter the points made, only say that they are “offensive” and such. She doesn’t actually say they are incorrect. And, plus, “offensive” to whom? Clearly, it is not the respectable people of the world that it is offensive to, but to the fornicators. But, why? “Hoes” and “sluts” are what they are. Why don’t they want be know for what they are? They do this because they wish to disguise their nature (like Satan, evildoers instinctively attempt to deceive) and to portray themselves neither as a slut and a whore, which they actually are, but rather as something different, something deceptive: shiny, and new, and “naughty.” Why? Because this is the way of temptation. If they didn’t try to pretend to be acceptable, all people would see their ugliness.

    And, finally, Ms. Janis wasn’t immature to call them such, because that is what they are: the fornicators and adulterers of the world. If anything, Ms. Janis was immature in that she didn’t offer solid moral reasons to not dress in such ways, but, rather, gave poor reasons throughout and acted in a “chummy” manner; saying things like, “lets be honest” and “I’m not saying you have to dress like a prude; prudence is one of the four Cardinal Virtues and isn’t to be mocked) She mustn’t compromise the truth by “watering-down” the criticisms that any human is fully authorized to make regarding evil.

    To Jason: it doesn’t matter what is “seen” as “normal” because you and I may very well be blind. That is why you must accept things on the authority of God who can neither deceive nor be deceived. He sees clearly.

    People know what message they are sending. They have the law written on their hearts. They only wish to deny it or pretend what they were doing wasn’t sinful.

  • Jason

    I have to disagree with the above post (Emily). The fact is, the trashy costumes (or really, lack-thereof) that women parade around in during Halloween have become increasingly accepted and, well, normal. Really, I don’t believe it is the author’s intention to call the actual girls sluts, hoes, etc., but to speak to the costumes that often pass as “good Halloween fun”. Personally, I think if maybe more people described those costumes the way that the author has, they might think twice about the message the clothes might send.

  • Emily Fenton

    I understand what the author is trying to convey, but her choice of language–“sluts,” “hoes,”is incredibly offensive. What an immature, judgmental, uncharitable way to make your point. You should be ashamed of yourself, Ms. Janis–passing your kind of judgement is much, much uglier than dressing like a “slut.”

  • Sharon Katzman

    nice article…

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