During Halloween, we go house to house dressed as ghosts and goblins. In gaming, we go room to room (or hex to hex outdoors) fighting ghosts and goblins.
And during Halloween we collect tasty treats. In gaming, we amass treasure.
Finally, during Halloween we become someone (or something) else, something fantastical and decidedly fun. In gaming we do the same, only its a costume of the mind when we aren't doing LARP or going cosplay at conventions. It's Halloween for grownups, and for kids too, obviously. Short of actual candy, gaming preserves this sense of play.
It's essential that adults be grownups. Neither Robyn or I have much patience for the perpetual manchild. We need to meet adult responsibilities and care for our families first and foremost. But when the work's done, we still need play, and neither Robyn or I have much patience for the sourpuss who defines adulthood as giving it up. Tabletop gaming translates childhood play into an adult context; and looking at Halloween it's easy to see how...