Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween in the USA, and Second Life!

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.


  1. Be nice if posts were a bit more frequent. Not very interesting to follow a blog that doesn't update in 2+ weeks.

  2. Great point, Flipper :) I totally agree with Second Life's being "an on-going Halloween". Personally, I always disliked the stress of having to pick out a costume and looking ridiculous in public, but then again, for some reason, that's what we do every day in Second Life... and it's great :-D

    Anonymous, it would be nice if all the bloggers on this blog had enough time to write dozens of new articles per day :) Sadly, they're all too busy for that — and I'm guilty as charged as well!

  3. " would be nice if all the bloggers on this blog had enough time to write dozens of new articles per day..."

    Who said anything about dozens a day? I don't think more than once every few weeks is unreasonable. Especially if you want any kind of following. I've taken this blog off my daily read list myself as there's never anything to read anymore :(

  4. Seems like this blog has gone the way of the dinosaur. Sad. Hope you start posting again soon!