Sure, it may be conventionally considered a gay holiday, but -- diversity being the bane of the monolithic -- Halloween is not universally loved by The Gay. There are those who find no joy in the masquerade. Rather, it's a tedious chore that demands costumed participation. Parties abound, but you'd better dress. And dress competitively, as you are being judged, despite what anyone might say otherwise.
So what's a gay guy or gal who'd rather not employ face paint or wacky costuming to do? Avoid Halloween. It won't be easy.
There are two choices: go out or stay in.
For an outing, you probably won't get much further than dinner and a movie. With Halloween 2008 falling on a Friday, the macabre mayhem will be hitting full force; doubly so at gay bars. Avoid gay bars as you would a desolate farmhouse when the criminally insane are on the loose.
For dinner, you might think you'd be safe avoiding anything American. With the Day of the Dead celebration the day after Halloween, consider any Latin venues also off-limits. Thai or anything European should also be off-limits. Thai culture celebrates fun, so they might get in on the act for the sake of it. And Europeans are adopting Halloween at a frightening rate, so there's no way of knowing which cultures will be safe. As with Christmas aversion, Chinese is fairly reliable. Granted, any culture with Buddhist influences will have a ''ghost festival,'' but the 2008 festival was in August, so they should be done with any ectoplasmic partying -- again, noting the Thai exception.
As for the movie, it's no surprise that most of the fare is geared toward the ghoulish. What's opening on Halloween? The Haunting of Molly Hartley. Splinter. Eden Lake. Pass, pass, pass. Instead, go with Zack and Miri Make a Porno or Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild, and feel confident knowing that the rest of the audience must share your Halloweenie disposition.
If you stay home, you'd better cook. You won't be able to order in for fear of that knock being a gaggle of kids begging for sugar. Lock your door and turn off any lights that may betray your location.
And don't turn on the TV. Every station wants in on the Halloween fun, it seems. Have something already rented. The trick is that even the most innocuous movies can throw Halloween at you. Legally Blonde? Nope, quasi costume party. How 'bout the divas? Cher in Mermaids? Big Halloween party, along with Winona ''Beetlejuice'' Ryder and Christina ''Addams Family'' Ricci. Janet Jackson has done some movies, but no good ones. Besides, she'll just remind you of her Good Times days as abused Penny, which was pretty terrifying. Glitter? Scary! You're left with Madonna's Evita.
If you survive the night, give yourself a pat on the back and take comfort in the next 364 days.