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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guest Post: Why Halloween Is The Best Holiday

Ben Johnson grew up in the heart of Mormon country, just outside of Salt Lake City. Given the unsophisticated nature of his palette ("what's a filet?") he was sent to Denver on his mission, where he grew to love even more types of cereal. Post-mission Ben broke his mother’s heart by attending and, *gasp*, graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in Finance. Whether he does anything with that degree is another matter. Determined to prove that the system works, Ben met his future wife Katti in a single’s ward. It was nothing like the movie. Ben currently lives just outside Salt Lake City with his beautiful wife and two cereal-eating kids, Elizabeth "Chuck" (8) and Jacob (6).

As everyone comes down off of the sugar-high of Halloween, they begin to steel themselves for the upcoming holiday season. The heavy hitters of Thanksgiving and Christmas are just on the horizon. And yet … I’m not quite ready to let go of Halloween. While I love turkey and presents and good cheer as much as the next guy, I’d like to make the case that Halloween is the zenith of the holiday pantheon.

First, a disclaimer: I am avoiding any discussion of religion in this contest. Religion allows Christmas to bring a gun to the holiday knife fight. It will win every time. So let’s leave that off the table and get to my list of why Halloween is the best.

1) The time of year. Is there anything better than stepping outside on a sunny October afternoon, crunching leaves while you walk to the mailbox, holding your wife’s hand? What about wandering through a pumpkin patch with your kids, watching them heft every gourd in sight so they can find the perfect one? There is something about the sun being a bit lower in the sky, giving things a warm orange hue. If you ride a motorcycle you’ll know what I mean when I say that a fall ride on a bike is one of the great joys in life.

2) The costumes. Enough said.

3) The social aspect. On Halloween, EVERYONE gets out of their house and wanders the neighborhood. It feels old-fashioned, but not in a bad way. Do you have a family you just can’t seem to home teach? I bet you will see them trick-or-treating (I cheated on the ‘no religion’ thing. Sorry).

4) Halloween allows you to live the American dream. Do you perpetually get your heart broken on Valentine’s day? Feel left out because you can’t drink on St. Patrick’s day? Do you find that you never get what you want for Christmas, no matter how good you are? Have I got a holiday for you! Halloween is the only holiday I know of that gives you the opportunity to work for your reward. It’s all on you. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. If you hustle you can build a candy empire. In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: “First you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the …” What better lesson could you teach the kids?

5) Getting set up for Halloween is cheap and easy. I’ve never met anyone that has gone into debt because they wanted to “give the kids a good Halloween.” Nor have I ever heard of someone needing a vacation because Halloween was so stressful. Have you ever worried about the in-laws staying a few days at your house for Halloween? Ever had a huge family fight because the Halloween turkey was too dry, and creepy Uncle Terrance showed up unannounced? I didn’t think so. For Halloween you throw up some decorations, buy some candy, light a fuse, and get away. Done and done.

I could go on, but I’ll end it here. Again, I want to reiterate that I love Christmas and every other holiday (except Valentine’s day ... 3rd grade was brutal). To me, however, there is one clear winner. I’ll drink (pumpkin eggnog) to that!

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