The Augusting of Halloween

September 10, 2021 —
I guess it was inevitable that once we established a Halloween Season, it would get a preseason. And August is starting to feel like that.

August seems to be the time people start heading to their newly resurrected Spirit Halloweens, looking for monster cereals in the grocery aisles, checking out what stores have put their seasonal décor out. That kind of makes it seem like a prep month, but I think more and more the Autumn People are starting to land grab the month completely. With gusto. I just read this line in one of the newsletters I get from a big horror publication: “As any horror-obsessed lunatic in your life will tell you, August is the beginning of Halloween season!” And then there’s the multiple variations of the 100 Days of Halloween challenge on Instagram. And Twitter goes red and orange and yellow well before the trees do.

But I get uncomfortable thinking about August as part of the Halloween Season, even as my own first furtive feints at the festivities seem to happen in that month more and more (I blame the socials constantly tempting me with their delectable orange and black delights in my feeds). The weird thing about that discomfort is that it puts me on the side of the Summer People. Those sweaty, sandy, margarita-blooded, baseball-watching, flip-flop-footed aliens that I somehow share a planet with. They don’t even like Autumn People taking September (we know, we know, Fall actually starts on September 22).

And keep in mind, I’m not talking about bein’ spooky. I like spooky all year round. I’m talking about that particular shade of spooky that is Halloween and Autumn. This is the difference.

So why not annex August? Why not give into the anticipation of everything I love about the season? Why not enjoy life 98% more for three months instead of two? I’ve got a few reasons.

1) Hot Halloweens Are Hellish. 
There’s nothing worse than exiting a Spirit Halloween into a wall of burning air. Of sweat pouring off you as you pull decorations out of your attic. Of watching an Autumn-tinged horror movie in the blaring daylight of 8:30 pm. And I know, those of you in more southern climes are used to hot Halloweens, so this one’s moot for you. But for me, that telltale ticking of baseboard heaters announcing that the temperature has finally fallen below my preset is a magical moment. That first time I pull a sweater over my head is like finally finding my own skin after a year of being flayed out of it. But if you’ve been celebrating the season for a month and a half by that time, it’s a lesser moment, just the next one in a series of moments. It’s kind of the way October 1 has ceded most of its meaning to September 1.

2) Fall Fatigue is a Fear. 
You might want to argue with me on this one, but I know I’ve felt it before on these long Halloweens that I celebrate. It just takes one pumpkin to tumble an entire pile, after all. Put too many witches on a broom and it breaks. It happens with everything we love. It's usually temporary, and we just need to amicably separate from the thing for a spell. But with something as transitive as a holiday, you don’t want to do that. We only get so many Halloweens on this planet. And they don’t celebrate it in the cold, dark void of nonbeing.

I took this on September 4, 2021, at a Home Goods in my town.

3) Christmas Creep is Coming. 
Just remember, the Winter People are standing behind us with their Grinch fingers nervously drumming. If we extend our Halloween Season, the Winter People will extend their Christmas Season. They already ate November completely, which I  love (I want two months of Christmas just like I want two months of Halloween). But they’ve started coming for October (and possibly Septembersee above photo). But mid-October is when Christmas starts hitting the store shelves with a jarring jangle of bells. You start seeing the commercials then, too. And August for October is an awful trade.

I know. This is an absolutely hypocritical article from a guy who stretches a holiday for two months. But I’m not saying don’t party in the hot sun like it’s a cold moon. Do what you want. I’m just saying the first breath of September is much sweeter when we hold our breaths all August.