It seems like nowadays, holidays are getting "bigger" and people are celebrating harder and they are on a major mission to outdo each other in the holiday celebration stakes. I blame three things for this: Facebook, Instagram and in particular, Pinterest. Everybody is searching for the picture perfect holiday photo that says "I'm better at holidays than you are."
And this holiday competition seems to be extending further and further. It used to just be a war to see who could have the most TV commercial like Christmas, but it's slowly spreading into New Year, Valentine's Day, and even Easter!
And I know that in the USA, Thanksgiving is one of the ultimate boasting holidays, so you have that to contend with, too.
But Halloween is the one holiday in the UK that seems (so far) to have escaped all of that and that, among other reasons, is why it's the best.
There's no pressure.
Everyone is under intense pressure to have this perfect family Christmas or Thanksgiving with perfect food, no mistakes, and above all, no arguments. And no arguments isn't an unreasonable thing to want for your family. It's unrealistic, but not unreasonable.
My mum used to put a literal verbal ban on arguing over the Christmas period until at least the day after boxing day!
Halloween doesn't have that. There is no pressure to have the perfect family Halloween. That's something that commercials haven't tried to impose on us yet. You can just have a fun Halloween, no matter what your age might be.
There are no real arguments.
People are really highly strung around Christmas. If an errant potato gets slightly blackened around the edges, then it can cause a pretty terrifying reaction in even the calmest of hosts. But even though there is no ban in place, nobody is really that tense about Halloween. Sure, there might be a few parents whose kids have changed their costume ideas at the last minute, but that's about it.
And another reason for the lack of arguments at Halloween is that nobody plays board games! So nobody can be accused of cheating and nobody can throw the board across the room. My mother, honest to god, banned us from playing Monopoly, I was about 7-years-old when the ban came into effect and I didn't play again until I was 28. Even though I lived over 200 miles away, I felt like she would know!
You don't have to go anywhere.
Nobody is going to try to make you feel guilty for not coming to their house or not inviting them to yours. You can go wherever you want to go. You don't have to set foot outside of your front door if you don't want to! Heck, you don't even have to answer it.
There is a code.
Christmas carolers are very beautiful when they are proper singers and choirs, but when they are some chavs knocking on your door wanting some money for singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," it's not so melodic.
I don't know about the USA or anywhere else for that matter, but in the UK, there is kind of an unwritten code these days that if someone doesn't have their house decorated or a pumpkin in the window, then they don't want to be bothered.
Yes, if you want to get involved, then there are costumes and sweets to buy, but you don't have to put an obscene amount of thought into a present for someone you barely know. And there is no pressure to get someone the perfect Halloween gift.
You get to be weird.
I love macabre stuff and Halloween is the one time of year I get to really indulge in all of that. I would decorate my house like Halloween all year round if I thought the wife would let me. What other time of the year do you get to spend time filling fake skulls with fake spiders and worms, or making fake blood to smear on your windows.
You also have license to terrify people, which is always hilarious. You're even allowed to scare children! But remember I said "scare," not "traumatize."
You're not a loser.
If you have kind of a crummy Christmas or Thanksgiving, or you spend it on your own, people either feel sorry for you or they think you have failed in some way. When in fact, half of them were in the same boat, but just don't want to admit it. But with Halloween, nobody cares what you did. All you will really get asked in the UK is, "Did you get a lot of trick or treaters?"
Let's keep it fun, people!
Please, people, let's not let what has happened to all of the other holidays happen to Halloween. Let's keep just one thing fun and let's not forget what it's really about, scaring the children and eating their chocolate.