“Halloween wraps fear in innocence,
As though it were a slightly sour sweet.
Let terror, then, be turned into a treat…”
~Nicholas Gordon, poemsforfree.com
Who didn’t love Halloween as a kid? Free candy? A whole bag full? Yes, please! But Halloween as an adult? I could care less.
Let’s start with the memories of my childhood. My family lived in the sticks, no sidewalks, no lights, houses not real close together. So my mom took us to my cousin’s neighborhood “in the city”. It was really a trick or treaters delight, as the houses were close together and pretty close to the sidewalk. And in Wisconsin Trick or Treat was held on the weekend, during the day. So we would all pile into the car, get to my cousin’s, and get in our costumes. I really don’t remember much about my costumes as a kid, but I remember my aunt made me a kick-ass cape that I got a lot of use out of. And I remember that we WHINED when our moms told us we had to wear jackets. OVER OUR COSTUME? THE HORROR! As you can imagine the weather was not usually too good at the end of October in Wisconsin. We would hit a bunch of houses and when we were exhausted, head it back to the house. And then MY favorite part—dividing up your candy and putting all the like things together—all the Milky Ways HERE, all the suckers THERE, until you had nice piles and could admire the haul. Then of course moms come back into play as they inspect all the candy for loose wrappers or anything else that may look suspicious and extract it from the pile. Then we would commence with eating craptons of candy until our bellies hurt and our moms made us eat some REAL food. I tended to get sick during Halloween or right after, I think because of the hype and the weather, but my mom says I’m famous for getting sick on just about every holiday as a kid. Oh well.
Fast forward to adulthood. Now I do have some good memories of Halloween as an adult—visiting the UW-Madison campus for an OUTRAGEOUS State Street experience that actually turned a wee scary as I think I was only 17 at the time. Going to Halloween parties during college and dressing up. One year I dressed up as Axl Rose—easy to do during my heavy metal years. But after college it was time to be an ADULT, and that meant you took your place as the GIVER of candy, not the receiver. Now I know some fall into the camp of buying what you DON’T like so you won’t eat it. I however, am not familiar with that camp at all. I always buy something I like so if there are any leftovers I get to enjoy them. Because CANDY is one of the only reasons I like Halloween as an adult.
Another reason I tolerate Halloween as an adult? Scary movies. I love them. I grew up watching them and I am especially fond of the countdown shows they have now showing scary movies over the decades, from Nosferatu to Saw V. I have great memories of watching movies like Halloween with Jamie Lee Curtis, Nightmare on Elm Street , and others. Now I don’t watch as many (mostly because the hubs doesn’t like them), but I still like to watch “the making of” or specials about them.
So candy and scary movies are the good points. Now the bad. I HATE giving out candy. I remember my dad would ooh and ahh over every costume and strike up a conversation with every kid and parent. Me—not so much. Compounded with the fact that Cincinnati has their Trick or Treat from 6-8pm on the 31st (no matter what day of the week it is). So if the 31st fell M-F we were racing home, stuffing our face with dinner and getting ready for onslaught of small humans. And that leads me to…
Kids that are WAY too old to be Trick or Treating just showing up in no costume and wanting candy. I’d say by the time you are 12, that should be your last Halloween. And if you are going to do it any older you MUST wear a costume. Of course I gave these pre-teens and teens candy because I didn’t want them to egg my house later. But I made them say “thank you”.
Third reason—some adults think that wearing a mask or costume give them license to act like an ass-hat. I think I actually read a study when I was in college studying Psychology that solidified this for me. And when I was a bar-goer, I would see confirmation of my theory all over the place. Drink too much, get grabby, break into a fight, you name it, if they had a costume on they were usually out of control.
I will be glad when Halloween is over and the candy goes on sale. Wait—that might be another reason for me to like Halloween—the end brings discounted sugar. So I will be nowhere in sight the night of the 31st, but I can guarantee you I will be at Target on November 1st scooping up some mini Snickers and Reeses Cups 75% off.