You know that feeling of anxious excitement you get when you expect something good to happen like an upcoming vacation, first date, or special celebration? Well, the Germans have a word for this– “Vorfreude” or in English “anticipatory joy.” Looking forward to something and expecting it to turn out well can be such a wonderful feeling; it can sometimes literally be half the fun.
I think about this word now because Halloween is fast-approaching and I have a strong sense of Vorfreude for the event! My boyfriend and I will be dressing up as Victorian-era vampires on Halloween and we are taking our costumes very, very seriously. We ordered our costumes online and they just arrived in the mail a few days ago. As soon as I picked up the box, I texted my boyfriend who was still at the office and we set a time that evening to open the package together. Finally, when he arrived home at 8:45pm, we eagerly tore into the box and took no time to change into our garb.
We were both overjoyed to see ourselves in our fancy black and red attire (capes and dickies included!) as well as don our jet black wigs. With this little sneak preview, my boyfriend and I now have an even stronger sense of Vorfreude as we await Halloween and the opportunity to parade these costumes to the world. My Vorfreude for Halloween is perhaps even stronger than my boyfriend’s. Unbeknownst to him, I have been slowly acquiring black makeup for our vampire costumes. I have visited Target, CVS, Sephora, and a Halloween store in pursuit of the right combination of equipment.
While all of my preparation for Halloween has been extensive, the holiday itself is just a day (or even just one night). In my experience, so much of the fun of Halloween is in the joyful anticipation and preparation for the event. For myself, Halloween has been a mini-season. Initially, at the beginning of October, I was merely conceptualizing my Halloween costume. Then, in mid-October I decided on my first Halloween costume (originally I had planned to be the White Rabbit from Alice and Wonderland) and I had also made Halloween treat bags for my co-workers. And now, in late-October, I have switched my costume to a vampire costume to match my boyfriend and am in the final stages of holiday preparation.
Vorfreude brings maximum joy. Halloween will be just one day. However, for me the Vorfreude has brought me several weeks of happiness and joyful anticipation. Planning can be literally more than half the fun. Dear Reader, I do not know what it is that you look forward to in life; however, my advice to you is to embrace it. Always look forward to that thing that brings you happiness and I guarantee that it will bring you happiness ten-fold.