Why do Gays and Lesbians love Halloween so? Celebrating Halloween was a longstanding tradition in my family growing up in Northern California. As a child I was allowed to run free—dressed as a monster or in some sort of boy-themed costume. Candy was like money for us, a commodity that involved trading and counting. The joy lasted for weeks as we ate ourselves sick everyday until it was gone.
My parents enjoyed costume parties too, and there was a lot of drinking and carrying on among the adults. They had no concern about my safety as I was allowed to roam the streets of our little suburb freely with my friends all through grade school. And there was no reason to be concerned in those days..no one had ever heard of anything bad ever happening.
This year, even though my 14 yr old son is a little too old to trick or treat, we’ll have fun with a bunch of friends at our house celebrating the holiday with pumpkin carving, hot cider and scary movies.
Judy Grahn writes about Halloween and its significance in Another Mother Tongue. “Halloween is a special holiday for LGBT people, who in many societies served as priests, witches, shamans, healers and intermediaries between the mortal and spirit worlds…impersonating a spirit is the only safe way to travel outdoors on Halloween. And who could better imitate spirits than the gay people whose traditional priestly role required just such intercourse with the spirit world?”…and the dangerous business of crossing over from one world to another help explain why Halloween is the most significant gay holiday.”
Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance writer and gay activist who lives in South Florida. In an article for the South Florida Gay News last week, Jessie writes “Halloween’s appeal to the LGBT community goes beyond that holiday’s historical or spiritual connotations. I believe that it has a lot to do with our role as outsiders in society; our propensity for cross-dressing and gender-bending; our love for the unusual and the fantastic; our ability to find humor in the absurdities and misfortunes of life; our fascination with festive costumes and the world of make-believe; and our special capacity to have fun. While others might treat Halloween as trick or treat for children, we observe and cherish it as a day and night in which we can do away with dull, ordinary, dumb reality and be our fun, exotic, erotic selves.”
Personally, I enjoy being as silly as possible. Last year my friend and I dressed up as Julia Childs and Edie Beale (from Grey Gardens). After dropping into several parties and never once breaking character, we ended the evening by walking into a local restaurant and holding an impromptu pretend cooking demonstration. People dropped their forks–riveted by our mock presentation. Then they laughed and clapped as we marched out the door after our 2 minute show.
Now that’s the true spirit of Halloween.