Throughout my life, Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. While at its surface, Halloween my seem like a holiday for young children, Halloween is a holiday that evolves as you mature. Let’s take a deep dive into how your Halloween experience evolves throughout your life.
0-2 years old–
You don’t remember these years, because during this time you were basically a prop. This was an opportunity for your parents to dress you up in an adorable costume and parade you around to the neighbors and not only get to revel in your cuteness but possibly be rewarded for their procreation with a fun-sized Twix. To be fair, they wiped your butt a lot during this time, the least you can do is assist them in obtaining some sugary swag.
3-6 years old—
These are the magical years of Halloween. First off, you become fully cognizant of the social contract that exists. You understand that all that is required is to walk up to a door, knock, spit out a simple phrase and some sort of delicious sugary confection shall be bestowed upon you. Also, your outfit is not just a costume, it is a persona. You’re not just dressing up as Batman, for those few hours, YOU ARE BATMAN.
7-12 years old –
These are of the most important times during your Trick-or-Treating career. These critical years are all about candy volume and efficiency. You’ve preplanned your route. You know which houses give out full-sized candy bars and which ones are giving out toothbrushes. You’ve made sure your parents are properly caffeinated so they can keep up, and if they can’t…well… they know the score.
Halloween as a teenager is an interesting time. Maybe you hang on to Trick or Treat for a few years, but instead of being obsessed with your candy count, you’re more into just wandering the streets in a half-assed attempt at a costume. Maybe you’ve transitioned into visiting terrifying Haunted House attractions with your friends. You know the kind that you swear to your buddies were lame and not scary at all, despite the fact that you jumped out of your shorts when a dude dressed as a zombie jumped out at you and your girlfriend. Maybe it’s the first time your Halloween costume transitions from adorable to provocative enough to make your dad’s left eye twitch. Maybe it’s late night Slasher flicks with your buddies or snuggling up around a bonfire with that special someone. Maybe you spend the unsupervised time getting into some mischief.
Halloween during your teens is different, but in a very good way.
Your early 20’s
You probably don’t remember a lot of this time, but trust us, you had fun. You wore clever, topical costumes, went to a bar, drank too much and likely not only had some adventures but also probably made some questionable decisions. It was probably necessary to send some sternly worded texts to a couple of your friends to un-tag those photos they posted on Facebook before your boss sees you dressed as a sexy Care Bear.
Married without kids
Halloween becomes more about “Autumn” than the actual holiday. You’ll throw on flannel and scarves and frolic/sweat your way through pumpkin patches and apple orchards while taking adorable selfies that will make your single friends both mock and envy the sweetness of your relationship. Maybe you’ll head out to Applebee’s for a Halloween themed trivia night while you sip Pumpkin beer until the wee hours of 10 pm. Maybe you’ll stay in and watch Hocus Pocus and wrap yourselves in nostalgia while you pass out candy and enjoy seeing the Trick or Treater’s costumes. It’s a lot more chill than your early 20’s, but there are a lot less hangovers too.
Married with Kids
This is such a great time, because you get to reexperience all the stages of your own childhood Halloween’s, but from a different perspective. You’re the one early “Congrats On Showing Us Your Adorable Baby Dressed As a Lady Bug” Snickers. You’re the one walking with the other parents in the neighborhood pulling a wagon laden with a cooler full of adult beverages as your kids go out in search of candy. It’ll be your wardrobe your kids are raiding to put together the ultimate 90’s costume. You will get to experience each step now as a spectator, a cheerleader, and a co-conspirator. The magic may be different, but its still there.
This time may just be the best. Like so many other grandparent moments, you get all the fun and very little of the responsibility. You now get to experience the magic for a third time. You get to see and feel that childhood wonderment as your grandkids show off their costumes. You get to feel the pride of seeing that magic not only fill your grandchildren’s hearts but your children’s hearts as well. Sure you might have to hold down the fort and pass out some candy while they go Trick or Treating, but you also get to sneak your grandchildren extra candy and duck out for the night before the sugar rush kicks in.
And that’s the progression of the Halloween experience. Sure, it may not be the same for everyone. Experiences will always differ given circumstances and personalities. What’s important to remember is that Halloween fun does not stop the older you get. Like you, it just evolves to the next level.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Dale currently resides in the suburbs of Reading, Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife and their ever rambunctious five-year-old “Twinzers.” He graduated with a BA in Photojournalism from Point Park University in Pittsburgh in 2007. Dale’s parenting musings can be found on Twitter and Instagram under the handle @TwinzerDad