How to Have a Respectful Halloween in 2020 and Beyond

Halloween is a time of fun and excitement but can also come with its own set of difficulties for some of us. It is an exciting time to dress up and enjoy the holiday with your friends and family and I am sure that we all remember the excitement of finding the right Halloween costume at the pop-up Halloween store when we were younger. Next came the excitement of showing off the costume to your friends at school and getting complimented while trick-or-treating. At some point, most of us switched our late night trick-or-treating for hang-outs or parties with friends. Maybe we even took over the role of handing out candy to the new generation of trick-or-treaters who are following the same path we did so many times in the years prior. Regardless, for most of us we traded in our pillowcases or buckets for a lawn chair or a basement couch. We accepted the fact that the adults in our lives told us we were now too old and resigned to a different role, a bittersweet moment.

Recently, I read a story on Facebook about a person with autism who was excited to go trick-or-treating this year. He was dressing up as SpiderMan and could not wait to see everyone and get some candy while showing off his awesome costume. This young man stood at 6’2 and was 16-years-old. The story detailed how last year he was not well-accepted at many houses he went to, people refused to give him candy and told him he was too old to trick-or-treat. His mom was pleading in the post that anyone and everyone should accept those like her son, those that still find joy in the little things. She explained that while her son was now older, this was still something he found great joy in and could not understand why he could not participate.  

I am not sure when or why there is a socially accepted age limit on trick-or-treating or why anyone would feel the need to be so crude to someone who just wants to participate in an innocent age-long ritual, but nonetheless it happens. This kid, although tall and grown, still deserves to do the things he loves. While his ideas of life and the way he lives may be different than those we deem “normal,” there is no reason that he and his family should have to feel hatred and hurt because of this different path. He is just one example of many who still find great joy in things in life that society may deem them too old for now; whether that be dressing up and trick-or-treating for Halloween or watching cartoons. There is no reason to judge someone based on their actions. 

Likewise, on the subject of Halloween and respecting everyone during this fun holiday, let us take a minute to remember that our costumes are a reflection of ourselves. It is our responsibility to make sure that we do not dress up in a way that will offend others. There are many articles that can be found to help make sure you dress in a way that is fun and tasteful this Halloween, here is one by edjustice that has personally helped me out. There is no reason not to have fun, but there is also no reason to offend or hurt others, whether that be judging someone for the way that they are acting that is out of their control or by wearing a costume that is culturally insensitive or offensive. Either way, remember that your actions speak louder than your words and what you do is always a reflection of who you are. This Halloween, I encourage you to choose to be an ally to those in all walks of life. 

Lastly, please don’t forget that we are still in a pandemic. I get it, I want to dress up in group costumes and go out with my friends too. If you choose to go out please do so carefully and safely. Don’t forget your mask when you are around other people. If you are looking for some alternatives consider a movie or game night in with a small group of friends. Another good alternative is a socially distanced bonfire outside or a virtual pumpkin carving contest. We are in this together and together is the only way that we will make it through. 

This holiday season, now more than ever, it is important to remember that everyone goes at their own pace and deserves love and support from everyone they encounter while they navigate their growing up. Even if someone is acting differently than you, that does not give you the right to judge their actions or tell them they are wrong when these actions are done innocently and bring them joy. However you chose to celebrate this holiday, remember to be kind throughout this season and beyond. Happy Halloween!