Halloween is a nightmare

By Lee Feder

Happy Halloween, Ms. Slutty Cop and Mr. Pimp. Welcome to the least enjoyable day of the year for me. With ghouls, ghosts and ghastly, slutty nurses, Halloween on campus is … uhm … an experience. Every year, though, students tend to recycle many of the same costumes (hey look! There goes a slutty firefighter!) and pay the same exorbitant cover charge at campus bars. Halloween is the perfect college holiday.

Today allows students normally consumed with the routine of homework and exams to indulge their fantasies, both the horrific and the exciting. People escape the scary world of class, work and responsibility to be superheroes, athletes, movie characters and, yes, even promiscuous public servants. Heaven forbid people dress as something plausibly gruesome, like Dick Cheney in hunting gear or a tax increase (if anyone does, in fact, dress as a tax increase tonight, I will be more scared than Jamie Lee Curtis in “Halloween”).

My abhorrence of Halloween stems from many areas; high bar cover, crowded parties and ugly costumes all make their contributions. Yes, I am the Grinch of Halloween. However, the real reason Halloween continually tops my list of most despised days is that its form of escapism is entirely vapid and false. People dress up and party to hide from their real lives for a night, but never actually leave. Apparently being a Fighting Illini is not the most exciting lifestyle, so people trade in the Orange and Blue for (insert random costume here), but never permanently change.

To be fair, everyone escapes the monotony of life in his own way. Some people drink and do drugs, some read, some play music or create other art, while others window shop for items they will never be able to afford. Halloween, though, appeals to the basest form of escapism. Physical change is shallow and relatively not fulfilling in the larger scope of life. After all, how many women would love to look like Jessica Alba? Yet, many of the people with a nearly perfect appearance have highly imperfect lives a la Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. Those people’s external appearances indicate nothing about their lives, yet average people pretend that dressing up as a rock star will somehow invigorate their mundane existences. This is logically both obvious and false.

Not only do people indulge in this false escapism – and find it fulfilling – but they do so in an unimaginative manner. Remember that scene in “The Italian Job” when the crew realizes that Edward Norton’s character just used everyone else’s idea on how to spend the stolen money? That is what Halloween is. People look at other lives, fictional or real, and try to live them for a night. The fact is, nobody will be Diddy, Napoleon Dynamite, or Kobe Bryant. Women who truly are sexually promiscuous live that life on a daily basis and still aren’t fulfilled enough to expose themselves as busty bailiffs on Halloween. Where are the creative fantasies, those that explore hypothetical lives and new experiences?

The simple truth is that people should live their fantasies in real life and not escape to them once a year. I take no joy in Halloween because fulfilling my chimeras for one night is impossible. They need time to grow and morph into reality and when I finally do live them out, they will be permanent and everlasting and not the ephemeral intoxication of a campus night out.

OK, so I promise that I am not a complete killjoy. There are good times to be had on Halloween. I have heard bars host nice parties and costume contests. My friends have thrown some interesting parties. I, however, have long left that enjoyment for others. I prefer other celebrations and holidays, like Thanksgiving and Casimir Pulaski Day (really, an extra day off school for all those years? How can you NOT love Casimir Pulaski day). If by some unfortunate coincidence you happen to see me out today, have fear. I might be just be your worst nightmare-reality.