I’ll admit to feeling no shame in receiving an odd look when saying that the only holiday I actually like is Halloween. 

Maybe it’s the fact that I like candy more than any other food, or maybe it was that triumphant moment of dressing up and looking like an even more uncouth version of Beetlejuice than the original character himself, but I’d be remiss to deny my deep appreciation come every Oct. 31st. 

If you’re a history buff, you may already know that Halloween stems from the ancient tradition of Samhain, in which people would light fires and don costumes to drive away ghosts.

If you’re a local history buff, you may be surprised to know that our province is the site of perhaps the first documented use of the term “trick or treat” in Blackie, Alberta. But I’m an 80s baby and a 90s kid, and my version of Halloween was always much more Deadmonton and John Carpenter than anything else: the slasher flick that would make you scared to move and convince you that every sound in the house could be the signal that this might just be it. 

Despite this, Halloween will forever offer a lingering sense of fun. It can be no accident that after every jump scare, my  first response is to always laugh it off. And yet, just like sitting around watching a scary movie, Halloween sometimes seems to become one more thing to do in between all of the other responsibilities that seem to haunt us more than Micheal Myers ever could. 

I live in an area of town with a high concentration of bars and clubs and Halloween often seems to be an excuse to drink too much and wear much less, but I maintain that fact to be inconsequential. The true meaning of the day can be seen in the mini superheroes and villains walking around, trying to hold their outfits steady and their masks in place. It could be that I’m driven by nostalgia to romanticize childhood, but I think the lessons of Halloween denote something almost exclusively adult: maybe we’re not scared of Jason anymore, but I can’t be the only one who will still feel a pang of fear at least every other day. The spirit of anything goes seems to lose something when the villains are no longer ghouls coming back from the dead, but instead use names like chequing and savings and jeer that you’re too old or too late. It could only be a deliverance to realize that we should be allowed to ask ourselves, “What exactly am I going to be this year?” And yet we used to do so easily. 

The spirit of the day can exist in everyone on a regular basis; in the end, there’s a catharsis in looking fear in the face and saying that you may be scared, but you’re going to forge ahead anyway. And who better to remind you that the sky is indeed the limit than a little one in an ill-fitting costume who reassures you, “No man, you can’t be scared. You’re Spider-Man.”