Halloween: The Holiday for Kids

As a kid getting older meant you were becoming “cooler” and more mature, but little did we know that becoming older comes with a loss. We began losing the fun childish games and traditions that accompanied us growing up. Halloween was just one of those traditions that we lost, and while it may have changed its form for those who find themselves to be young adults in college, to many it is lost.

Nothing can compare to the experience of October as a kid growing up in the early 2000s. Things were so much simpler and responsibilities were seemingly non-existent. The biggest concern kids had during October was, “what costume should I wear?” and “will I get a lot of good stuff trick-or-treating?” Never did we imagine that this holiday would drift away from us and become happy memories of simpler times.

“I think what I miss most is the days leading up to Halloween, when we would go pumpkin picking and get lost in the hay mazes at the farm upstate we used to go to as kids,” says 23-year-old Michael Lockatell.

Just like other holidays, Halloween is a seasonal event that people spend weeks celebrating. Even though people don’t go out every night in October to collect candy, we would dedicate just about everything we were doing at the time to something revolved around the spirit of Halloween. Whether it be at school, at home, or in extracurricular activities we participated in, there was always some kind of tie-in to Halloween. We would wear different Halloween-themed uniforms in soccer tournaments in October or making cute arts-and-crafts with monsters, ghosts or bats and we would watch all the Halloween specials on our favorite channels on television.

Even though it may be upsetting to us that we will not be able to get back to those days of Halloween as kids, we can look back fondly and remember all the joy that came from them.

“I miss getting to see all the different costumes people wore and judging which one was the funniest or most creative, but I especially miss the parades we would have in elementary school,” says a 20-year-old Ravi Blokhra.

One tradition in particular that many people look back on with a smile is when all of us students would walk around the playground in one long conga line of kids all dressed to the nines in full costumes with our parents on the sidelines happily capturing pictures.

Another way schools would celebrate the holiday would be throwing a Halloween party in the school after hours. Kids would frolic through the hallways with their witch hats and their cowboy boots to the different activities at each station. The gym would have a dance party with Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” playing every five minutes. The multipurpose room had a spooky haunted house to thrill willing participants and the hallways were decorated with halloween-inspired projects that we made throughout the month.

Even after school was over Halloween was still on everyone’s mind in October because of the swarm of Halloween movies that were televised throughout the days leading up to the holiday. Classics like Hocus Pocus and The Nightmare Before Christmas inspired kids to get into the Halloween spirit and became staples of the experience itself. Platforms like Netflix recognize the tradition of watching movies like these by creating an entire category of Halloween movies during the season. Some people enjoy watching other classics like Scream or Halloween to give them a good old-fashioned scare to put them in the spooky mood with terrifying characters like the murderous Michael Myers. Whatever the movie is many people love to rewatch these Halloween flicks and enjoy the nostalgic feelings they carry.

For many kids Halloween was about one thing and one thing only: candy. Sure dressing up was fun and all the activities and events prior to Halloween were exciting, but the cherry on top was the pursuit of treats and journey of getting them itself.

“The ‘prep-period’ that we had after school before we went out seemed to last forever. The anticipation would only make us more excited,” said Kevin Moore a 20-year-old college student.

All kids wanted to do was to trick-or-treat, there was a unique thrill that came with the experience of going house to house and wondering what was being offered behind each door we would encounter. We loved the moment of waiting before the door would swing open and the one holding the door would lavish us with compliments on our costumes. There was nothing like the experience of trick-or-treating, it was irreplaceable and it symbolizes our childhood.

I can still remember the year I graduated from using our neon orange pumpkin pails to pillowcases as a holding place for my candy collection. I grew up with older brothers, so as you can imagine all I wanted to do was be like my “cool” older brothers who switched to pillowcases years before me. I felt invigorated because it was a sign that I was getting older and new things were coming my way. Halloween was always an exciting holiday for me, but in recent years I’ve come to realize that my childhood is becoming more and more distant which can be saddening. Nowadays I enjoy watching Halloween-inspired segments on shows like Jimmy Kimmel where he asks parents to send in videos of them pranking their children by telling them that, “mom and dad ate all your candy.” I, like many people, get a kick out of these clips and the temper tantrums that ensue but it also makes me miss those days all the more.

Halloween, like other holidays such as Christmas and Hannakah, has an overwhelming sense of anticipation, which many will argue is the most exciting part of the whole experience. But the difference between Halloween and other holidays is the fun doesn’t end after the day is over.

“One thing I miss a lot is the fun we would have the day after when we would compare stashes and compete to see who got the most candy or the heaviest haul,” said Lockatell.

 Even though the moment had passed we would look back on it as a good time and we were able to see the bounty of the fun we had in front of us through our mountains of candy. What I have come to learn in growing up is that you can’t look back on those times and think about how much you wish you could reverse time and go back. You need to be able to see that bounty in the form of happy memories. Sure, it is sad that those times are over, but life is full of joy and surprises and it is our responsibility to make the most of what we’ve got and find the fun in everything like when we were kids.