Celebrating Halloween as an Adult

Halloween is my favorite time of year, regardless of how others may perceive the appropriateness of celebrating the holiday as one grows older. As a Halloween lover, I often feel criticized by individuals who feel it is unnecessary, or even childish, to dress up in honor of spooky season’s culmination. Halloween deserves the same amount of respect as any other holiday.

Let us consider the wide variety of other holidays people observe throughout the year. For starters, some families and friends host get-togethers where it is perfectly appropriate, encouraged actually, to wear attire that is blatantly ugly (Yes, I am referring to that ugly sweater you have stashed away in the corner of your closet that makes its single, yearly debut around the winter holidays).

During New Year’s Eve, people gather around a TV, yelling and shouting for almost 60 seconds straight in a futile effort to usher along the Times Square Ball. On the Fourth of July, dress code, decorations, and food are restricted to items that are red, white, and blue; supposedly the fireworks shine brighter when one adheres to such standards.

Likewise, people of all ages and backgrounds celebrate Halloween by dressing up in costume, relying on the charity of others to supply their year-long candy stash. Why is it that the tradition of other holidays is not so heavily debated as Halloween’s?

Some of the best memories I have of my childhood surround old Halloween traditions. As a native northern New Jersey resident, I would always trick-or-treat with my family, making sure that we stopped by this particular house. This house was no ordinary trick-or-treat stop; rather, it was fully decked out in Halloween decorations, including a miniature maze that led trick-or-treaters toward the front door where our ultimate treasure lay. Determined to seize our rightful candy, my cousins and I would cling to each other, screaming our lungs out, as we made our way out of the maze.

Nonetheless, these innocent memories were replaced with less happy times as I got older. When I was a freshman in high school, I went trick-or-treating with two friends. Naturally, we prepared our costumes accordingly— one friend was a skull hockey player, the other was a prisoner in shackles, and I was a zombie schoolgirl. When walking around my neighborhood, I felt like neighbors’ and parents’ disapproving stares were burning holes into our costumes.

While we were just looking to appease our inner child and bag some free candy, the whole experience was tainted because others’ judgement. After that night, I remember thinking: Are we too old to celebrate Halloween?

As a true Halloween connoisseur and early October baby, I decided to have a Halloween, masquerade-themed sweet sixteen. Instead of dressing up in costume, I wore a big, sparkly gown paired with a masquerade mask. My family and I even embellished our venue space with all-things Halloween.
For instance, we set up a candy bar full of different kinds of candy for people to pick at throughout the night. The centerpieces for the tables were bouquets of fake black roses. The DJ kept true to the ambiance of the environment by playing some spooky soundtracks combined with common party music.

The year after my sweet sixteen party, my friend and I started co-hosting Halloween parties. We would decorate his basement and make it as terrifying as possible, imitating the set-up of crime scenes and dressing up our skeleton muse. My friend also had an old television set, so we kept the static screen on all night. One year, we went as far as getting a fog machine.

But like all good things in life, our annual parties came to an end once we started college. Nevertheless, even as a college student, I like to dress up at home, give out candy to trick-or-treaters, and watch scary movies. Even though my current tradition is a bit laxed in comparison to what it was in year’s past, it’s still fun to have a small part in observing my favorite time of year.

Nonetheless, there is still a time-honored debate as to whether or not college-aged kids are too old to dress up for Halloween. While you can most likely guess my position on the argument, it seems as though the Halloween tradition at Monmouth is alive and well. Just this past weekend, Monmouth hosted its Trunk-or-Treat event, passing out candy to students, employees, and local kids and families. I likewise saw Monmouth students posting pictures with friends in their costumes at parties.

So, is there really an age limit to dressing up, let alone taking part in common Halloween traditions? I answer ‘no.’ Traditions, no matter what the holiday, are important and should warrant respect from everybody, even if you personally disagree.