Aren’t You a Little Old to be Trick-or-Treating?
That latex mask smell permeating every drug store is the unmistakable indicator that the Halloween season has arrived. Ghoulish tchotchkes and hefty bags of distributable candies litter the shelves. October, and by extension, Halloween is the official start of the amusement park-like holiday season. Everywhere you turn there are decorations, elaborate shop windows, and ad-centric cardboard cut-outs dangling from every chain-store’s ceiling. All these colorfully loud ornaments are there to distract you from what you know to be true in your aged-old soul — which is that Halloween pretty much sucks past age 12.
The minute your age includes the word “teen” in its designation the times of simple candy-coated pleasures are gone; deserving of its own plastic tombstone that you see scattered on the lawn of every overzealous Halloween apostle. When we come to the realization that our trick-or-treating years are behind us, most of us, in a sweet nostalgic way, are fine with that at the time. The years of dress-up are over. “Time to leave behind the frivolities of youth,” you’re 13-year-old self thinks — probably without using the word “frivolities.” More adult fun awaits! You cling to this mindset until you realize that adults still dress up (well, some of us do), and most do so out of robust social pressure. Who wants to hear “you’re no fun!” by the insufferable 30-something year old woman dressed as a Harry Potter character?
Welcome to the semi-awkward, forced-fun that offices and college campuses all across the country are plagued by. They hold you hostage when you would just rather take the candy and leave behind the Superman tights. (I promise you, the novelty wears off quickly after you’ve made your entrance, had your 15 seconds of fame, and come to the realization that you’re stuck in this thing for the rest of the night — costumes don’t even have pockets. Come on!). So, the allure of adult Halloween doesn’t have much potency when you know that the freedom of adulthood means that, technically, you can put on a costume and get drunk any day you want regardless of the color of the leaves.
Most of us would still be trick-or-treating if we weren’t 6 feet tall and aware that we would merely get pity donations of apples and raisins from unenthusiastic and hesitant neighbors.
If you wish to get psychological about it — which, yes, always — then I would argue that we grown-ups cling to this goofy fall holiday simply because it is a designated date on the calendar where you can tap into the lore of what Halloween meant when we were kids — adventure and good old fashion fun. There are few things past the age of 25 that feel quite as fun and as pure as Halloween when you and your friends felt the seemingly real threat of witches, werewolves, and ghosts.
So, wear a costume, don’t wear a costume. Take advantage of the season of shameless candy over-indulgence and let all of us adults try to come to terms with the fact that there are simply few things left that will ever be as fun as they were when we were 10 years old…but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. Plus, Halloween isn’t going anywhere, regardless of your age, so let’s try to make this as amicable as possible, shall we?