Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year (even though it isn't really a holiday, but I'd love to have the day off every year, for future reference... it is too bad my boss doesn't read this blog).
More than any other American tradition, Halloween is a day where imagination and fantasy is celebrated. I was posting to the SLUniverse forums earlier today, trying to explain the phenomenon to someone across the pond, and it hit me; Halloween in first life is much like every day in Second Life. That combination of imagination and creativity is not nearly prevalent enough in our real lives.
Adults get to act like kids again, more so in the past decade than ever before, when Halloween has become a holiday for everyone, not just those still in junior high and younger. Halloween is now the second biggest economic windfall to Christmas in the United States for spending on an holiday event. Too often in the United States, we repress our fantasies and dreams, but Halloween is an excuse to live them out... maybe we need more of that? Of course, it is the children who make it so much fun, but the adults are now having as much fun alongside them.
Boys dress as girls.
Girls dress as boys.
People dress as animals.
I even saw someone this year who incorporated a Roomba from iRobot into their outfit, and someone dressed as a Philadelphia downtown skyscraper.
Every other day of the year, I only get to see this kind of creativity within Second Life itself, and that creativity amongst our residents is what keeps me coming back. The avatar is a daily expression for many of the spirit that makes Halloween such a special day. Peoples' avatars in Second Life on Halloween are almost an exponential expression of creativity and imagination!
Additionally, I think Halloween allows us to appreciate one another's differences. How often do most men get to appreciate the joy of a runner in a stocking, or navigating a pair of high heels? How often do people get a chance not just to pretend they're a professional athlete, but appreciate just how heavy a pair of American football pads weigh, or how much work a clown does on a daily basis on their real life avatars?
How often do people get a chance to pour their creativity into an artistic project, who are no longer making macaroni drawings in kindergarten? Outside of Burning Man and the SLCC, Halloween is often the only chance we get.
The best parties of the year are also around Halloween, just because of the general freakiness of it. It is America's Carnivale, Guy Fawkes night, or Mardi Gras. The same spirit that highlights Halloween also highlights Second Life. Appreciate our differences; allow yourself to be a dreamer for a night; live out that wild fantasy. An old Native American adage tells us to, "Never judge a person until you have walked a mile in their moccasins." Perhaps Halloween is a chance for us to do that in real life, an exercise we should do a lot more often to try to understand those who differ from us.
I will proudly continue to allow my inner child out every chance I get, and Halloween is a day when our entire country celebrates that pure, simply joy.