CHICAGO — I have a somewhat controversial opinion: Thanksgiving is the superior fall holiday.
Yep, you read that right. I genuinely believe Thanksgiving is better than Halloween. Don’t get me wrong—I adore Halloween. It’s fantastic, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. I look forward to it every single year and make great memories on Oct. 31. However, if I had to pick, my heart leans just a bit more toward Thanksgiving.
Now, before you get mad, let me share some reasons why I think Thanksgiving takes the crown as the superior fall holiday:
1. It’s not commercialized
This is reason No. 1 why Thanksgiving takes the cake. It’s not commercialized in the same way a Halloween and Christmas. Sure, you can buy a giant inflatable turkey and matching Thanksgiving plates, but no one is shoving it in your face the same way they do on Halloween. There is a lot less pressure to buy everything when it comes to the November celebration.
2. The food
Try as we might, but a Halloween dinner does not compare to the giant spreads usually seen during Thanksgiving. Turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, pumpkin pie? There are just so many stars at the dinner table to choose from. And while Halloween has its own special treats, Thanksgiving has meals that sometimes have strong nostalgic ties.
3. Friends and Family
Everyone is so busy nowadays. Busy with work, kids, school, life in general. But there are a few times a year where all the people I love and care about take some time to be together — and one of them is Thanksgiving dinner. One of the best parts about Thanksgiving is seeing all your loved ones in the same place.
Halloween comes with its own set of traditions, some of which are newer and being adopted by more and more people. But Thanksgiving comes with traditions that run deep in many families. Breaking the wishbone, running a Turkey Trot 5K, watching football after the big meal. There are so many fun and wholesome traditions to take part in on Turkey Day.
5. It’s for everyone
One of the great things about American Thanksgiving is that it’s open to everyone — friends, family and even new people in your life. If you ever let it slip that you have no plans for Thanksgiving, you are more than likely going to be bombarded with invitations to join in on a celebration. Thanksgiving is a day meant for everyone in your life who matters. No one gets left out on Thanksgiving. It’s a time to come together.
6. The week leading up to it is (usually) relaxed
Thanksgiving is something that Halloween is not, and may never be: A national holiday. Which means a lot of people not only get Thanksgiving off, but also Black Friday and then take off on Wednesday or leave early. Now, obviously this isn’t the case for a lot of professions (I worked in news my entire life and federal holidays usually meant nothing). The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest party days of the year. Thanksgiving week for most Americans means just taking it easy and watching as all your coworkers use their PTO.
7. No dress code
There is a lot of pressure, especially being in the Halloween community, when it comes to Halloween costumes. People post about them non-stop and it makes you feel like you should be trying harder. Thanksgiving is as fancy or as dressed down has you make it. I aim for jeans and a T-shirt. Some people go all out and dress fancy (which is funny, because you’re just in someone’s living room). But for the most part, there’s no dress code to Turkey Day. Just come with an appetite.
8. It kicks off the holiday shopping season
The official holiday shopping season starts on Black Friday and goes all weekend with Small Business Saturday and into the next week with Cyber Monday. This make it the best weekend for holiday shopping. There are no crazy Halloween sales happening near Oct. 31, unfortunately.
9. Everything on television
Football, the Thanksgiving Day Parade, holiday cartoons, there’s just so much to watch on TV on Thanksgiving Day. And if none of that pleases you, Netflix and Hulu are always there.
The party keeps going on Black Friday because chances are if you hosted Thanksgiving, you were left with plates upon plates of leftovers. And if you didn’t host, the host more than likely gave you a to-do plate. Sometimes those Thanksgiving sides tastes better the next day.