It happens to me at the same time every year. The leaves change colour, the days begin to shorten, carved pumpkins spring up like STIs in a student residence, and I begin to experience an unrelenting and aching dread. Suddenly there are a thousand parties to attend and a million costume ideas to choose from. There are too many options, an onslaught of choice, and with this agonizing assault of decisions, a tiny voice at the back of my mind.
I hear it when I’ve been rabbit-holing on Google for three hours researching potential costumes (genuine search: “how to veganize Gaga’s meat dress,”) or when I’ve been standing in line at Value Village for what feels like years, weighed down by armfuls of novelty hats, sequin fabric, three types of face paint. The voice whispers: It doesn’t matter what you wear or where you go… None of this matters…
Yes, it’s my annual bout of Halloween-induced existential dread come to spoil the party! There’s something about limitless choice plus frenzied activity plus rampant commercialization that gets me spinning out (don’t even get me STARTED on Christmas). As you can imagine, I’m a real hoot to live with… I do try to ignore it and enjoy this holiday for what it is: a good excuse to dress up in a funny costume and go to a party, but that voice is never fully silenced.
If you’re suffering a similar bout of Halloween-induced existential angst, here are some friendly pointers to help chase the demons away:
Dress up as the guy in Edvard Munch’s The Scream
Sometimes all you can do is embrace the dread and turn it into the most ‘gram-worthy costume of all time. I have long dreamed of fashioning a mask to look just like Munch’s painting, and now (praise the internet) I don’t have to. Anyone with a spare $98 (plus shipping) can buy this mask from the import website, Japan in a box, which does exactly what the name suggests and sends you weird, amazing things from Japan, in a box. Halloween costume: tick!
Gather thy squad
In times of existential dread, I know of no better cure than surrounding yourself with those people who have the ability to make you laugh until you almost pee yourself. Whether you’re busting out your classiest pair of sweats and doing a scary movie night with your girl army, pounding the dance floor with your crew in your Edvard Munch / Vegan Gaga costume (you’re welcome) or avoiding the whole darn holiday and just staying in chillin-out-maxin-relaxin-all-cool, things are always better when you’re together. One evening with your BFFs and you’ll soon forget all about your existential malaise.
Get the shit scared out of you
Nothing will knock that lo-fi Halloween depression out of you quicker than getting a genuine fright. There are a bunch of fun and genuinely scary immersive theatre-style events across the city where you can, if you so please, get the bejesus scared right out of you. My personal faves this season are Frolick in the Face of Certain Death where your own personal medium will chaperone you through a horrifying, sordid warehouse (based near Eglinton and Victoria, runs until November 5) or the only slightly more child-friendly Legends of Horror, which pays homage to the stars of our fave Halloween movies in the most frightening way (at Casa Loma, runs until October 31).