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Halloween is here, and I have to admit this is one of my favorite holidays of the year, probably third behind Christmas and Thanksgiving.

When else is it perfectly acceptable to dress up like a superhero or crazed villain that you admire, respect or fear. Growing up, I wasn’t terribly into Halloween; I was only in it for the candy, most of which my parents would take and stash somewhere so I wouldn’t eat it all and make myself sick. My suspicions were that it was distributed in various church classes or to my dad’s co-workers.

Only recently did I grow to love the costumes and the opportunity to take on the life of another and, in a sense, take a step away from your own reality. The past two years I assumed the personality of Kylo Ren, dark lord of the First Order. He was so intimidating to me in The Force Awakens (until he took the mask off; his scariness wore off for me then), and I wanted to be a part of that.

So naturally, after my classes on Oct. 31, 2016, I put on my costume and walked around my apartment complex, just to watch other people’s reactions. I even just stood on the elevator, completely still, and watched people get on and off. I got a few people really good; I’m sorry if any of them were you.

Another fun part about Halloween for me is the spookiness factor. I love ghost stories and scary movies, my favorite being the original Halloween (the “for TV” version of course). It was the first slasher and true horror film I ever watched.

When I was about 9 or 10, I woke up early one October morning and heard my dad up and about. I got up to see what he was up to and found him on the couch, tuned in to the slasher classic. I was interested and sat and watched with him. I still remember the fear of the seemingly unkillable threat strolling through Haddonfield chasing after Laurie Strode and her friends.

For years after that, Michael Myers was the subject of nightmares and irrational fears I carried far longer than I should have. Surely out there in the dark there was the white masked killer, waiting for me to step into his clutches. The fate I was sure would come never did, despite all my fears.

I finally worked up the courage to watch the movie again and enjoyed it much more a second time. This sparked a new interest in me for classic slasher films, films that I will still pull out in October.

Ultimately, Halloween isn’t just a holiday for kids to go out and collect candy, it’s a time for you to be the hero you always wanted to be. Ever wanted to be Batman? Be Batman. Ever wanted to be Darth Vader? Be Darth Vader. Go out and enjoy the opportunity.

Halloween can have more traditions than just trick-or-treating. Find some Halloween movies to watch every year. They can be funny like Hocus Pocus, intense like A Quiet Place or terrifying like Friday the 13th. No matter your traditions, make Halloween your third favorite holiday.

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