Dear Southerners: Halloween is more than just a time to dress up and party

Harkening back to the ancient Celtic tradition of celebrating the conclusion of the summer months and last harvests, as well as bracing for the cold, Halloween has taken many twists and turns through every culture that has adopted it.

Growing up in the bone-chilling tundra of Chicago, experiencing Halloween in Miami for the first time is a culture shock. In Chicago, my Halloween consisted of running around my neighborhood in a spooky perforated sheet, clad in multiple pairs of wool socks and surrounded by the last bursts of color nature would provide for the foreseeable future. A sense of urgency hung in the air because this holiday marked the end of enjoying the outdoors, with its vibrant foliage and without fear of impending sundown or potential frostbite. We relished the final opportunity to enjoy the fleeting, mild weather and the freedom that came with it.

A Miami Halloween is a different story. This sense of urgency to eke out the last moments of autumnal joy simply isn’t present in this perpetually hot and sunny climate. Miami’s adoption of Halloween traditions takes on a different character.

Halloween-themed parties and concerts light up the clubs of South Beach. There are no boundaries – atmospheric or cultural – standing in people’s way of wearing whatever costume suits their fancy. An event such as “The Playboy Halloween Masquerade” on Miami Beach couldn’t exist anywhere else.

Miamians, unexposed to the ups and downs of a seasonal climate, take a more superficial approach to Halloween. Walk around campus during this time of year and you will undoubtedly overhear discussions of matching sexy Starbucks cup costumes, frat parties and club events.

But, by celebrating the holiday in this way, they are missing what makes it truly special. It lacks the mystique of celebrating something fleeting, inciting a spirit of gratitude for the warmth and carefreeness of the summer and excitement for the cheerful holiday season ahead. The turn of the season is about more than just barometric pressure and chlorophyll but a progression forward in time and an appreciation for the present moment.

Dana Munro is a sophomore majoring in musical theater.