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I Hate Halloween, and Here’s Why

As a child, I loved Halloween. Always a lover of fashion, picking out a costume and getting all dressed up was my favorite thing. I loved going from house to house, running into friends and collecting and trading candy with my brother at the end of the night. 

But, once I got older, Halloween started to become stressful. First came the social stress and exclusivity. Trying to create a group and figure out Halloween costumes in high school can only be described as a nightmare. The way that the holiday made people split up with such clear divides between who was and was not friends was hellish. And when the infamous “Halloweekend” came, even when I had already decided on a costume, finding a place to wear it was not always easy. In my small town, people were ruthless about party invites; nobody invited the whole grade, but they invited just enough people to make you feel left out. I was lucky to have amazing friends in high school, but Halloween did not always make it feel that way. 

I’m not going to lie, some of my Halloweens in high school turned out okay. I loved my sophomore year astronaut costume and the party I went to senior year ended up kickstarting a larger friend group that lasted through graduation. But, for all the insecurities that this holiday brought out, was it worth it? 

I have also begun to think about the amount of waste that Halloween generates as I’ve grown up and begun my journey of sustainability. I always thought about the fact that every year, millions of people buy cheap clothing only to be never worn again. A study by environmental charity Hubbub found that 2,000 tons of plastic waste are generated from disposable Halloween costumes each year, a number equivalent to 83 million plastic bottles. These numbers plague me and I can’t believe that I am contributing to this problem every year. And, as a high school or college student, you always need to be prepared with multiple costumes. 

I’ve learned to combat this by borrowing as much as I can for my costumes and, when buying, only buying things that I think I will wear again or absolutely need to make the costume work. For example, my 70s disco costume this year will be okay without the white gogo boots that would be sitting in the back of my closet after one night. 

Planning out this costume and the rest of Halloween for my first year of college has undeniably caused a rise in my anxiety. While I feel like it cannot get worse than high school, I’ve definitely had moments of panicking about social stress and the environmental impact of my costume. But, from years past I know that it always works out. Sure, Halloween will never be a holiday I look forward to, but I can try and enjoy it the best I can.

Sela Breen

Northwestern '25

Sela Breen is a freshman journalism major at Northwestern University from Westchester, New York. She loves all things fashion, talks too much about her dog and has an unhealthy obsession with pasta.
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