How to Prepare for Halloween – Satire

Lauren Bulanek, Op/Ed and Shark Stories Editor

It’s a cold night on September 30th. You look out your window to see gray storm clouds looming in the sky. A full moon rises above them, hiding itself in a veil of mist. The trees shake as the chilly night wind runs through them. The leaves on the trees begin to change color as the moon becomes more visible. Soon, shades of red, orange, and gold dance among the trees. Then, as the clock strikes midnight, a single leave falls. Your body tenses, but you can’t begin to prepare for what is about to come; at least, not without my guidance.

It’s Halloween boys and girls! You’re a fool if you thought Halloween was on October 31st. Halloween is actually during the whole month of October and anyone else that tells you otherwise is a fool. Pre-Halloween, also known as September, is over. Now it’s time to get spooky. 

Andy Williams lied to you; Halloween is the most wonderful time of year, not Christmas. What is Halloween, though? Some may tell you it’s the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which originated from the ritual of lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off ghosts. Others will say it’s All Saints Day, created by Pope Gregory III in the eighth century to honor all of the saints. However, it is truly the evening before All Saints Day, known as Hallows Eve. It’s harder to commercialize that name though, so we call it Halloween. What started as a religious holy day has evolved into so much more. 

Today, Halloween is about so much more than religion. In fact, it’s gotten so far away from religion that many churches argue Halloween is now evil. To some, it embodies the devil instead of warding it away. If the devil is sugar highs, drunken parties, haunted houses, terrorizing others, and of course, cultural appropriation, than those churches are correct. 

Halloween has become so diverse it’s hard to say that it is simply one thing. This makes getting into the spirit of Halloween much more difficult. In order to prepare for Halloween, you must first find out what Halloween means to you.

Step One: Finding what Halloween means to you.

What do you hold dear to your heart? When you think of Halloween, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? What’s the first thing you want to do?

Is it eating Halloween treats to your heart’s content? Is it buying a bag of candy “for the kids”, but keeping it all for yourself? Is it going to Halloween parties just for the food? If so, you may be a fall feaster. If the idea of having pumpkin spice flavored goods, from coffee to hummus, than Halloween for you may be about the food. If so, start saving your appetite for the fall festivities.

Have you been planning your Halloween costume since June? Are you a fan of Pinterest Halloween costumes and D.I.Y. Halloween tutorials? Are you upset that you only have one day to dress up? Do you have trouble picking just one theme? If your answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be a costume connoisseur. If so, get ready for a deep dive into Pinterest posts to come.

Do you look forward to the terror and tricks of Halloween? Have you been researching the best haunted houses and mazes? Are you saving up to go to a haunted amusement park? Have you been planning Halloween tricks to scare the trick or treaters? If yes, you may be a scare seeker. If so, get ready to live and breathe terror. 

Is Halloween the one time you feel like you can be yourself without judgement? Do you look forward to being able to do the stuff you’ve wanted to all year? Is Halloween your escape from reality? If you answered yes, you may be any of the following things, including but not limited to a furry, goth, gay, trans, witch, cosplayer, member of a fandom, and/or just a fan of getting spooky. If so, prepare for such extreme self-expression that Halloween may be considered an art form. 

Do you meet two or more of the Halloween criteria? If so, prepare for your life to get spookier by the minute. The skeletons in your closet are a good thing now.

Once you know what Halloween means to you, you can start planning how you’re going to get spooky. 

Step Two: Budgeting for Halloween. 

In order to properly celebrate Halloween, you need to make a budget. Get out a paper, pencils, and a calculator to make sure you spend your money right. Once you have your needed resources, write down how much money you have. Then make a list of what you normally spend your money on. Rank your list in the order or your priorities. For example, you may spend most of your money on the things you need to survive. These could include food, water, gas, rent, and Fortnite. The resources you spend on non-essential goods, such as self-care, stable mental health, and your significant other, should be all the way at the bottom of the list. You don’t need them anymore – you have Halloween now. If the spookiest time of year doesn’t fix all your problems, nothing will. Plus, who needs a girlfriend or boyfriend when you could have a skeleton that sings to you? That skeleton will put in more effort than your high school significant other ever has.

Once you have made and ranked your list, cross everything out. From October first to November first, Halloween will be your only priority. You no longer need food, water, or stability. You now have the spirit of Halloween to fuel you. With Halloween as your new life source, you better treat her right. If not, she will leave you for a better man. A man that is tall, slim, wears mostly black suits, is passionate, and can sing. That’s right, Halloween will leave you for Jack Skellington, the true Pumpkin King. If you can’t give Halloween all you have and all you are, you will never be able to rival him for the title and step six won’t even matter. 

Step Three: Preparing your Halloween treats. 

Go on Pinterest and prepare to give those suburban moms a run for their money. Look through Pinterest for inspiration on Halloween treats. Draw from the power of the Halloween celebrators before you, because now it’s your time to shine. Find the recipes that make you feel better than your ex ever did. Then, make a list of the ingredients you need and go to the store. Make sure you consider how much you’re going to eat. If you think you’re only going to make and eat one batch of Halloween cookies, you’re lying to yourself. Once you get the ingredients, go home and prepare your kitchen for the chaos to come. This step is very important. If you don’t prepare your kitchen for the amount of Halloween spirit that is about to enter, your kitchen will never be the same. The memory of what you did to your kitchen will haunt you more than Freddy Krueger ever could. Once you have prepared your kitchen, simply follow the recipe and bake/cook to your heart’s desire. If you feel like following instructions is too hard for you, you shouldn’t be reading this article. Remember, it’s okay if the food doesn’t turn out looking the way you wanted it to. Halloween is built around terror anyway. 

Step Four: Planning your Halloween costume. 

There are a few different types of Halloween costumes, so it is crucial that you find the one that is best for you. Make sure you do what you want to do, not what others tell you to. Halloween isn’t about conformity – just ask Hannibal Lecter, the brilliant psychiatrist turned incarcerated cannibal.

If you are broke, then a D.I.Y. costume may be the thing for you. Let your creativity flow as you dig through your closet to see what you can put together. If you can’t seem to find of anything, you may be able to draw inspiration from Jim Halpert in The Office. Some of his infamous costumes include the three hole punch version of Jim, created by sticking three black circles on your shirt, “Dave”, created by putting on a name tag with the name “Dave” written on it, and “Book face” created by writing “BO” on your right cheek and “OK” on your left cheek in black marker.

If you feel like your life is just one long comedy skit, then a funny Halloween costume may be right for you. Just think about the things a suburban parent may exclaim, such as “holy cow” and “oh dear”, and you have yourself a Halloween costume. If there’s a phrase that has caught your attention, use it to create a costume. Some phrases include, but are not limited to, “Netflix and chill”, “chick magnet”, “50 Shades of Gray”, and “monkey suit”. Joke and play on word Halloween costumes are simple and usually cheap. The only price that may not be worth paying is being banned from Home Depot after taking 50 different gray paint samples. 

If you want to act older than you are, then a revealing Halloween costume may be the thing for you! I can’t think of anything scarier than normalizing pedophilia culture and the sexualization of children. This costume is easy to do too! All you have to do is sexualize a regular thing, such as a job or an inanimate object, and show a lot of skin!

If you don’t like having all of the focus on you, a couple or group costume may be your best bet. All you need to do is pick an iconic couple or group, such as Batman and Catwoman or the Scooby Doo Gang and dress like them! You can also follow a theme, such as emojis, memes, or cultural appropriation! The last option is the most popular. 

Do you want to express yourself without feeling the harsh judgment of other insecure teenagers? Then dress as whatever you want. Whether it’s something from your fandom or a furry, Halloween allows you to be yourself. If someone judges you, you can lie to them and yourself and say it’s just a costume. However, if your idea of expressing yourself is dressing as a Fortnite character and performing multiple Fortnite dances throughout Halloween, you need to take a long, hard look at what you’ve become. 

If you want to cross a line by pretending to be something you’re not, cultural appropriation may be your top pick for a Halloween costume. It’s not like there’s anything offensive about turning someone’s traditions and culture into a costume. If your ancestors are the ones who contributed to the Native American genocide, nothing makes amends like dressing as a Native American and mocking their tradition and culture. Plus, blackface is possibly the only true American contribution to theater, so it would obviously be rude to disregard it when considering Halloween costumes. If your culture is the one that is being appropriated, you can dress as the people that are appropriating you! It might even become ‘trendy’ enough that they may want to start dressing as themselves again. The system of cultural appropriation may go full circle! If that doesn’t make it a memorable Halloween, nothing will.

Once you have chosen and put together your costume, then you’re truly ready to get spooky. 

Step Five: Getting spooky! 

It’s time to live and breathe Halloween. The activities you partake in, whether it’s going to a haunted house or a Halloween party, or trying to pass off as a child to still trick or treat, all must be done with the spirit of Halloween in your heart. The only acceptable music to listen to is Halloween music. If you aren’t playing “Spooky Scary Skeletons”, then you aren’t playing real music. If you aren’t eating Halloween themed food, you don’t deserve to eat. There is fall/Halloween themed food in every store. The America food industry has been building towards this moment, so don’t blow it. If your life is incredibly stressful and at times scary, don’t change a thing. Just embrace it. This is your time to shine. You can always disguise your mental breakdown as a Halloween costume; all you have to do is say that you’re the “regular high school student”. To be clear, Halloween isn’t a way for you to hide your problems – it’s a way for you to embrace them. This is the only acceptable time to make friends with your demons! Otherwise, you may be incredibly lonely or someone needs to call a priest.

Step Six: Becoming the Pumpkin King. 

If the song “This Is Halloween” isn’t playing in your head after reading the phrase “Pumpkin King”, you have already failed. 

To become the Pumpkin King, which you can become regardless of gender because the Pumpkin King transcends all other forms of existence, you must fully embrace Halloween. You must feel the spirit of Halloween in your heart and let it rattle your bones to the fullest. What the spirit of Halloween means is up to you. When the spirit of Halloween consumes you, you will know. Only then you will be ready to challenge the Pumpkin King.