It’s Halloween. If you’ve lived in the United States around kids for any amount of time during October, you mean this means three things… costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating. I spent many years enjoying this phenomenon and I’m happy to say that I enjoy seeing my kids enjoy this pattern now too. I’m not a fan of wearing costumes myself, nor do I eat a lot of candy these days, but I enjoy watching young ones put on faces and enjoy their youth.
But what does that have to do with gaming? I’m getting to that.
If you look at your typical tabletop roleplaying session happening in homes, libraries, or wherever just about any night (or day) of the year all around the world, we’re repeating the same pattern. We roll up characters instead of wearing physical costumes (though some folks do that too). We enjoy our pizza, popcorn, soda, and snacks like the proverbial “treats” of “trick or treating.” And we roleplay in worlds of wonder instead of wandering the streets near our homes ringing doorbells with big smiles. Isn’t it the same thing?
As gamers, I think we all have a bit of Peter Pan Syndrome… not wanting to grow up. And though we have our jobs and our families, our trials and tribulations, the game table is our Halloween. A night (or day) we look forward to every year (or each week) to hang out with friends and family and have fun exploring our imaginations. Even if you are looking for the tactical side of gaming, it amounts to the same thing: playing games and having fun with those we like to spend time with.
We are not monsters, but we may play them at the table. We seek to one-up each other with tales of heroic deeds and challenge ourselves to slay the dragons or save the princesses (or save the dragons and slay the princesses – whatever you want to do!). We laugh and rail against bad die rolls or card draws. And we have fun wandering imaginary streets and performing these deeds in a safe, shared space of storytelling.
So if you see kids in your neighborhoods tonight wandering the streets in costumes cute, detailed, or scary – give them their due. Make sure they are safe. After all, they are roleplaying just like you. :)
Happy Halloween folks!