Generally, I am not a Halloween celebrator. First of all, as you might have guessed, I like theme dressing all the time. If you tell me, “On Wednesdays we wear pink,” then on Wednesdays, I shall wear pink, not because I am a Plastic, but because I’m down with a Mean Girls theme. Once, I went to a Rockies game, and it was cold but I was warm because I wore a purple hoodie. My friend turned around and took my picture and said, “That’s the perfect sweatshirt for a game!” Duh, I wanted to say, because wasn’t that the point? But I didn’t, because I’m not a Plastic.
(If I have lost you here, might I suggest you watch the movie “Mean Girls?” Tina Fey wrote it and if you are a girl, if you survived high school or if you are a person who likes jokes, you’ll probably chuckle at least once. Based on the interactions I’ve had with my readership, I do understand that some of you fall into none of those categories, in which case, maybe you won’t like the movie.)
As someone who is not a Plastic and therefore not a Mean Girl, I have to tell you, the current climate is really getting to me. Yes, the weather (because of the fires and the air quality) is depressing and debilitating and we can all agree that relates to the climate; however, I am mostly referring to the social climate, which, in summary, is how we will all remember, with little fondness, the year that was 2020.
The reason it has been so exhausting is that we, as humanity, have polarized ourselves along every spectrum imaginable, so that now, when you’re in the grocery store and reach for orange juice, you run the risk of someone pointing a finger and accusing, “How could you buy orange juice without pulp? Pulp adds texture and flavor and essential nutrients!” At this point, you can tuck your tail and retreat down the aisle to grab your eggs, or you can point your finger and scream, “That’s fake news! Orange juice is just as nutritious and delicious without the pulp!” (Lest I myself be accused of fake news here, I actually don’t know the real answer to this argument, if there even is one; I’m just creating the most ridiculous example I can think of, although I fully expect to get an email telling me what’s up with orange juice.)
We will close out this year without running out of things to argue about. There’s still plenty of time to debate the appropriate ways of deicing the roads, of what can and can’t be discussed at the Thanksgiving table, and of how to wish people good tidings of great joy during the Yuletide season. (Was that politically correct?)
I am here today, however, to posit that this Halloween will be a perfect holiday because it will pause one of the more malicious arguments we’ve all been wasting a lot of energy on, which is whether or not we should, or should have to, wear masks. Now, hear me out because there are a lot of ways we could still argue this point about Halloween. Someone might say, “Stay inside! Coronavirus multiplies on Halloween carried around on the pitchforks of demons!” And then the other person, the person who actually likes pulp in their orange juice, would respond, “Fake news! The demons slay the coronavirus by licking it with their forked tongues!”
There’s a lot of possibility here, a lot to work with, honestly… but I am suggesting that instead of making arguments about masks on Halloween, we come together and agree that, on Halloween, people wear masks anyway. So, to be clear, you can actually legitimize your sexy nurse get-up with a cute, sparkly mask that makes you look like a Snapchat filter. You can wear medical grade PPE behind your ghost face mask, and no one will be the wiser. Maybe you’ll appropriate Middle Eastern culture with your Jasmine-inspired veil and be in compliance with a statewide ordinance! We’ll take the good where we can get it!
We can then all take to the streets, not as demons, but as (socially-distanced) friends once more, collecting candies and enjoying the snap of a cold October night. You might, taking in the scene with teary eyes, whisper-scream, “I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.” And I’ll look back at you, and I swear I’ll be smiling behind my mask as I shout back, “She doesn’t even go here!”
And when the one naysayer claps back, stomps off and says, “Whatever. I’m getting cheese fries,” I’ll be grateful that, even in a world where we can’t agree on orange juice, at least a “Mean Girls” quote can always tie the whole thing together. It’s pretty. Pretty “grool.”