Halloween is the best holiday for college students

(Photo Illustration by Hannah Hunsinger | The Collegian)

College students should be like a reverse Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Instead of abandoning the scary stories in favor of Christmas carols, we should be embracing the fall holiday. Although it doesn’t come with a break from school or presents, it comes with freedom and lightheartedness that is hard to find when students have final exams, travel, gift buying and dangerous weather during later holidays.

Unlike Christmas or Easter, Halloween is divorced from its original religious meaning. It’s like Saint Patrick’s Day with costumes, or April Fool’s with jack-o-lanterns. There’s no ceremony, no rules and only one tradition: trick-or-treat. Whatever that means for you as an adult, you should do it. Who decides what is childlike, anyway? Adults do. Which means we can take a little time to ourselves in this age between going door-to-door for candy and taking our own children out. Whoever said holidays belong strictly in the realm of children did not get enough candy in their plastic pumpkin as a child.

Forbes estimated that two out of three adults feel that the holiday is not just for children anymore. I don’t either – Halloween is one of the few holidays where you don’t have to make elaborate plans to visit all your relatives. There’s no list of every cousin that needs a present. Everyone just gets candy. You don’t even have the pressure to get belligerently drunk if that’s not your style. Fall staples like cider, hot chocolate and the reigning king of fall – pumpkin spice lattes – dominate the usually saturated weekends.

There’s little to no debate over Halloween beliefs. It doesn’t have the “Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas” debate that later holidays have. Even if you are part of the 18 percent of people reported by Pew Research to believe in ghosts, no one is likely to fight you over your views. The Christian faith doesn’t exactly endorse Halloween, but usually allows followers to participate in the festivities if they attend the All Saint’s Day service on Nov. 1. The original pagan and Celtic views that turned harvest festival Samhain into modern Halloween are not widely practiced. Unless you actually do resurrect an ancient person at your seance, there’s no one to offend.

The most controversial facet of adult Halloween is the slutty costume. The sexualization of younger girls around this time of year is a hugely apparent problem, but we aren’t talking about the little ones. College students are full-fledged, consenting adults. If you can brave the icy howling winds of late October, you wear those fishnet tights with pride. Although you should stay away from racist caricatures like the recent crop of blackface Ray Rice couples and Dia de los Muertos sugar skull appropriation, showing some skin won’t kill you. Ladies in tutus and corsets, you deserve applause. Shirtless dudes, flex a little. You made (or paid money that you made) for those costumes. There’s no shame in dressing up for a weekend.

The average person spent $28.65 on a Halloween costume in 2012. Some pre-packaged costumes from popular lingerie and costume vendor Yandy can range from $30 to multiple hundreds of dollars. Candy for trick-or-treaters (and ourselves, in between those visits) will run us $22 more. Festive drink mixers like Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur and Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur will cost $12.99 each, according to the Fridge Wholesale Liquor. Some have said it’s excessive, but I’ve spent hundreds more on Christmas presents. How dare we as paying adults contribute to a $8 billion dollar industry? I’ve bought six rolls of tulle from Hobby Lobby this year. No vendor has ever complained to me.

The economic benefit is obvious in retail, but it also promotes agriculture. Seasonal workers that staff haunted houses number around 100,000 each year. According to the Haunted Houses Association, there are around 2,000 of these attractions operating annually in the U.S. Especially here in the wheat state, we know the importance of agri- and eco-tourism.

Halloween is a no strings attached holiday. We need more of those in our stressful lives. Take advantage of the night and let your freak flag fly.