Sean Beckwith: Don’t succumb to pre-Halloween parties
When a high school kid shows up at your door holding a pillowcase full of candy, wearing normal clothes and a cheap mask, either they have a mindboggling lack of self-awareness or are entirely void of shame. Deep inside, that teenager feels silly hauling around 20 pounds of candy when mini-Dracula can barely carry his jack-o-lantern pail. He knows the next, more ominous phase of Halloween fun is lurking for him: Staving off the pre-Halloween Saturday adult costume party because Oct. 31 is the only proper time to celebrate one of the most, if not the most, childish holiday there is.
No other day on the calendar encourages you to dress however you want — unless you count Aspen Highlands closing day, which is kind of a high holy day for Aspenites. Christmas features functions centered around scratchy, ugly sweaters. Easter wants you to wear poor man’s wedding garb with those uncomfortable shoes you paid too much for. The Fourth of July and St. Patrick’s Day are color-coordinated affairs and Thanksgiving encourages give-ups and elastic-based clothing.
There’s something “Step Brothers”-ian about a 30-year-old man indulging his inner comic book nerd for a night — emphasis on one night because there seems to be more to cosplay than just playing dress-up.
The pre-party for adults too grumpy to go out on a weekday is like eating gobs of candy the day before Halloween. There’s one day a year when it’s OK to hoard Nerds, Heath bars, Jawbreakers and Kit Kats, but you’re going to do a mock candy binge? That doesn’t make any sense.
The same goes for the costume you curated throughout the year. I spent $37 on an FBI jacket and another $11 on aviator sunglasses, and you think I’m going to waste the novelty a couple of days before Halloween? Nah, I’ll come to your party but I’ll be the guy conjuring up my best “Trick-or-treating teenager” outfit.
Michael Myers didn’t go on his murder spree Oct. 27. The movie isn’t called “Pre-Halloween Massacre: Prelude to Inventory.” The feel of Halloween is one of the best parts about the holiday. It’s like all the Friday the 13ths throughout the year rolled into one. A full moon or a black cat on any other day only holds weight for superstitious people but those eerie sightings are great on Halloween. It’s the equivalent of a white Christmas, Fourth of July fireworks or a gorgeous spring Easter Sunday.
The Saturday before fright night is just kind of disingenuous because it’s so forced. That’s why I don’t blame people who refuse to wear a costume to any pre-Halloween party regardless of their proclivity for dressing up. It’s an ordinary weekend night that also is during football season. I don’t want to potentially watch my team lose looking like Alvin the Chipmunk. If you think the Incredible Hulk is angry now, give him a dozen beers and a shanked game-winning field goal if you want to see real horror.
The amount of discontent I harbor for the false-idol parties is equal to the disappointment I have when someone tries to join Oct. 31 fun in jeans and a T-shirt. Basically what I’m saying is of all the opportunities to embrace a shallow holiday, Halloween is the best option. You don’t need fancy clothes and dinner reservations or have to honor the day’s real meaning or a green shirt and an incorruptible liver — though the latter helps — to have a good time.
You only need a costume. Do you have a bucket hat, dirty shirt, pants and boots? Boom, you’re Bill Murray from “Caddyshack.” Perhaps your roommate has an old Grateful Dead shirt and a wig that could turn you into a hippy. Ladies, I’ve not-so-shockingly found out, have costume boxes with an assortment of items from wigs to cat ears. A friend of mine wore a clam hat with a camouflage dress Saturday and referred to herself as a “Camo Clam,” which isn’t a thing but was still funny.
Even though I had fun Saturday, I’m kind of regretting firing off that much energy because today feels less special. Half the fun of costume parties is seeing your friends dressed as idiots. The other half is getting drunk and then joining more costume-clad idiots around Aspen. If you’ve already done that once this week, it diminishes the experience.
In the vein of election week, vote “no” on pre-Halloween parties.
I understand being an adult and trying to reach the required amount of REM sleep but, for the love of ghosts, your boss will understand some Nov. 1 sluggishness — just remember to scrub off the glitter and black eye shadow.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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