“Hey baby, lookin’ fine!” a stranger hoots as he passes by me on the street and slaps my ass. “Thanks Shug,” I call after him in the best hooker voice I can muster. I hike up my short jean skirt and wonder if my balls are showing. The moon overhead is full and wreathed in clouds so I howl because it’s Halloween and all of society’s rules, norms, and common decencies have been turned inside out and upside down.
In class the other day, I overheard two women talking about Halloween and how everyone knows it’s just an excuse for girls to dress like total sluts. If people think this is all Halloween is then they have missed its larger meaning. This past Saturday I saw three giant pumpkins having a conversation in a driveway, a man dressed as a doctor with a box on his head advertising free mammograms, a girl that came straight from the Flintstones’ Bedrock (a page right out of his-tor-y), crowds upon crowds of people, drunk or not, walking the streets, going from party to party, all of which was looked upon as completely normal because it was Halloween!
Why am I making such a big deal? Because for one night a year, all of the societal rules that cage your true passionate self are liquidated. It is true that this may lead to scantily clad people, but it also leads to something more than that. It allows everyone to assume a personality from which he or she might ordinarily be restricted. It allows people to take reality, twist it up, scrunch it into a ball, and then shove it into people’s faces and say, “Look at me now, Hoss!” When else can a college guy wear a skirt that gets honks and whistles from passing cars? In Burlington last weekend, we witnessed the UVM community in a freer state than it is for the rest of the year, and I hope you shared in its glory.