Haters gonna hate, but Halloween is for fun

by Kenneth Leonard

Ladies and gentlemen, the opinion section of this newspaper is often full of negativity. Sometimes I agree wholeheartedly with the staff writers here at The Aztec, but sometimes they get a little too serious and they need a reminder to lighten up and enjoy life. After all, this is college, and college is all about having fun. I should point out that it’s also, to a lesser extent, about learning and education and stuff.

We’re not here to talk about education, though. It’s Halloween, which means it’s the beginning of the end of the year. Halloween is like the Wednesday of the entire semester. It’s hump day. It’s all downhill from here, friends. We’re passing through the gateway toward Thanksgiving, Christmas and, most importantly, winter break.

With this in mind, let’s be aware of the unique opportunity Halloween provides. It’s truly an exceptional holiday, offering all of us the chance to transcend our day-to-day lives and escape into new identities, if only for a night or two.

There are a lot of haters out there who may frown upon your costume. Remember, whether you’re rocking the Miley Cyrus MTV Video Music Awards outfit or donning blackface a la Julianne Hough, there’s no costume that’s truly off limits. In fact, the only offensive thing about dressing up like Cyrus this year is how profoundly boring and predictable that costume is. Spoiler alert: There will be at least five Miley Cyruses at Trujillo’s at any given point this weekend. Don’t be one of them. You’re better than that.

Here at San Diego State, I have seen a dizzying display of disguises during the last few years, and I have heard plenty of criticism of my fellow Aztecs’ costume decisions. To all of the haters, I say lighten up. It’s just Halloween.

Nobody should be criticized for his or her stupid or tasteless costume, and by no means should anyone be prohibited from wearing any particular costume. You may be thinking, “Yeah, I get your point about laissez-faire freedom of expression, but my crazy roommate wants to dress up like Trayvon Martin. He just bought a hoodie, some skittles and an Arizona tea. I have to stop him before he does something offensive.” Here’s the thing, though: You don’t have to stop him.

John Milton once wrote, “Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to worse in a free and open encounter?” What Milton, who was a total bro, was saying is that good and bad ideas should be free to sort themselves out in an open environment. Is it a good idea to wear certain Halloween costumes? No, probably not. Should people be free to dress up as whatever they want anyway? Absolutely, yes. If they’re dressed like idiots, powerful social forces will regulate their every move. SDSU is a free marketplace of ideas, and its continued greatness as an academic institution depends on this marketplace remaining uninhibited.

So, to every member of the SDSU community, I implore you: Don’t let anyone hate on your Halloween swag. Halloween used to be a quasi-Christian hybrid of harvest festivals and pagan celebrations, but all of that hasn’t mattered for a long time.

Halloween is really about shaking off the conventions associated with the other 364 days of the year and stepping into whatever role you want to play while celebrating. It’s about being a little more alive and enjoying liberation from what’s normal. To take it too seriously is to entirely miss the point of what Halloween means in a modern context.

So remember, you’re neither obligated to be anything nor forbidden from being whatever you choose to be. Let this humble editorial act as a reminder of your personal liberties. I’d like to think that straight-up anarchy on Halloween is what our Founding Fathers would have wanted.

Incidentally, if you’re a highly intellectual coed with terrific self esteem who casts disparaging glances at girls in revealing costumes, unable to imagine yourself stooping to such a level where your personal integrity could be compromised, I want you to know that I understand. In fact, I approve of your high moral standards, and I wish you nothing but success in every endeavor.

However, if you’re just trying to have a good time this weekend, we’ll probably run into each other at some point. I’ll be the dude in the Miley Cyrus costume.