Why Halloween Brings Happiness
Updated: Mar 17
In case you haven't noticed, there is a widespread pumpkin attack happening in the USA! Just kidding! Halloween is just around the corner, and these spooky-faced friends are popping up everywhere. I love Halloween, and as a mom of kiddos, Halloween is a time when we get to express our inner divas.
But, it got me thinking…why do people love Halloween so much? You don't get presents, you don't really hang out with your family, and you don't get to eat a super crazy meal…just lots of candy. While it is easy to guess that candy gives you a happy sugar high, there is much more as to why the anticipation of Halloween is so high and makes us happy year after year.
6 Reasons Why Halloween Promotes Happiness
#1: Halloween Buys an Experience
Rather than stressing over buying presents, you can go out and have fun. Whether trick-or-treating with your kids or hitting a club with your besties, it is about the night, the moment, the crazy feeling, and sense of wild abandon. As we have talked about before, experiences often trump material possessions in the happiness arena.
On top of that, there is anticipation. As you have likely heard before, the anticipation of an event can be just as exciting as the event itself. For Halloween, you get to debate costumes, plan for crazy makeup, write a list of parties, and so much more! The night of Halloween itself is quite fleeting, lasting maybe 12 hours, but you can get weeks, if not months, of anticipation happiness out of it.
#2: Overspending is Expected
Let’s be honest; Halloween isn’t cheap, and everyone accepts that and even pushes each other in a competition to spend more. The perfect examples are Halloween costume contests and being that "cool" mom on the block with full-size candy bars. No one will judge for spending $100 on a cool costume because it's Halloween. It's kind of like wedding fever; you only have one shot, may as well go all in! So shopping happy high it is, just without the regret.
#3: Halloween is a Community Holiday
At no other time of the year would you allow your children to run around the neighborhood in a mask, knocking on strangers’ doors and asking them for candy. If we were to try and do this on, say, March 4th, people would look at you like you’re insane. Not on Halloween, though! This is a time when people come together. It is a ritual that allows you to connect with others. If you decorate, the neighbors will compliment you, and you may build social brownie points that you couldn’t before. Parents traveling in packs with their kids can chat and hang out. Plus, kids get to play and party together. Altogether, this holiday is all about being social and making connections.
#4: Halloween Lets Us Be Creative
Halloween is the chance to be whatever we want to be. Kids can dress up as pirates and fairies, a career they certainly can't pursue later in life. Teens can wear crazy makeup, dye their hair, and show off an outfit they never would dream of wearing in real life. Adults can let loose and become something beyond the rigid office worker they portray during the day. Whatever they want to be, they can be for one night.
#5: Halloween Teaches & Normalizes Death
I know this is a little darker of a note, but it is important. Death is a natural part of life that often gets overhyped in our culture. Just look to Dia de Los Muertos in Latino countries. They take that day to remember and celebrate the dead, a healthy and positive way to process complex emotions. Halloween here may not be the same, but it is a chance to learn, talk about, and process death and the more challenging emotions of life in a fun and helpful way.
#6: Halloween Promotes Healthy Stress
The last reason why Halloween makes us happy is that our body feels stressed. On many holidays, we have bad stress. The stress of buying the right gift for Christmas, of having a date on Valentine's Day, or hosting family at Thanksgiving. None of those stressors help you, but Halloween stress is the exception. Why? Being scared makes you happy.
I know...I know...that seems counterintuitive. However, research has shown that getting scared in a healthy, safe environment actually releases dopamine, a feel-good transmitter, to the brain. When you get scared knowing there is no real danger, it can even cause you to laugh! And we all know how good laughter is for you!
So, in anticipation of Halloween, I encourage you to look forward to the holiday and plan to experience it. Whether decorating the yard, taking your kids out for trick or treating, hitting up a party, or simply handing out candy, this is a time to revel in the happiness of Halloween.
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