When we were young, Halloween was all about getting the coolest costume and begging for candy from all of your neighbors. Or better yet, driving to the neighborhood in town that had a reputation for handing out the best candy. By the end of the evening, everyone had a large bag full of chocolate, pixi sticks, and maybe a granola bar from the healthy lady on the block (everyone had one of those). Then, costumes would be put away and the eating of candy would begin, possibly lasting until Thanksgiving if you portioned it out well. The excitement of the evening was all about who could get the best candy or the most candy. From Twix, to Skittles, to M&Ms and everything in between, these candies were synonymous with the carefree parts of a child’s Halloween.
Now, as college students, Halloween has a very different meaning to us. Costume creation has become more complicated because now, for many of us, we worry about looking attractive in our costumes. They cannot be overly extravagant because people who have had too much to drink will ruin them at parties or at the bars. Many women start considering how much skin they can show in their costume without overdoing it. It becomes a holiday about sexy costumes instead of about candy. Men have the pressure to look dressed up, but not overdone or like they tried too hard. Halloween night, for many people on campus, involves some sort of gathering with friends, often involving large amounts of alcohol and dancing that lasts at least two nights. This year, with Halloween falling on a Friday, campus will most certainly be messy.
Halloween, originally an ancient Celtic festival where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts, appears to have strayed, at least a tad, from its original purpose. The costumes have stayed – the ancient Celtic tradition, not so much. In other cultures, Halloween is considered a day of the dead, a time to consider those loved ones who have been lost. And although some of the tradition may have been lost, countries like the United Kingdom and Canada are quickly falling in line with the American version of the celebration. To be fair, candy is great, and dancing and parties are a boon as well, but celebrate Halloween for what it is (a holiday about candy and a little fun) rather than just another excuse to do something stupid then use the excuse, “It’s a holiday, anything goes!” At least, as long as you are not Samhainophobic (that’s the fear of Halloween, for those who are not acquainted with the term).