Halloween for College Students: A Holiday that has Come Full Circle

By Alison Weissbrot on October 30, 2013

Halloween. As a little kid, the word was oozing with the annual excitement of trick-or-treating, dressing up as my favorite Disney princess, and staying up late on a school night eating candy. As a teenager, I discarded of these simple childhood pleasures as my friends and I began to embrace the thrill of becoming upper-middle class suburban bandits, wreaking havoc across our small neighborhood outside New York by egging each other and vandalizing people’s houses with shaving cream and toilet paper. Oh, how scary and fun. Now, as I look back on my past Halloween experiences as a mature, 21-year-old college senior, I begin to realize that Halloween is a holiday that has proven to come full circle. In reality, Halloween is still all about wearing ridiculous costumes, consuming exciting treats, and most of all, remains as frightening a holiday as ever.

When it comes down to it, even as a college student, the entire month of October is spent stressing about what Halloween costume you will sport to look better than your entire class – whether that be your 3rd grade class or your sorority pledge class.  Unfortunately for some (girls who have to wear them) and fortunately for many (boys who get to look at them), the only real difference between Halloween costumes of the then and now is that as age goes up, so do hemlines. So if you happen to be at a Halloween party and see a girl dressed up in the same Cinderella costume you wore when you were five (most likely in the same size), don’t be surprised. Slut-ified Disney princesses, movie characters, and innocent creatures are the go-to Halloween costumes for college girls. No one likes to wear an over-used Halloween costume, but if you dressed up as a cute little ladybug in the fourth grade, I can guarantee you’ll find about six more at whatever Halloween party you attend this year that don’t look quite as innocent as you did as a tot.

I think we can all agree that even at our age, the best part of Halloween is candy. I don’t care how old you are – if you have grown out of the desire to go door to door and yell “trick-or-treat” at your neighbors demanding every variation of mini-chocolate bars imaginable, there is something severely wrong with you.

Unfortunately, society has deemed this inappropriate past the age of roughly ten to eleven years old, thus, washed up Halloweeners like us must refocus our sweet tooth on something equally as fun and one hundred percent less delicious – alcohol. That’s right, with the outgrowth of trick-or-treating and its replacement with the dreaded Halloween diet to fit into those skimpy costumes college culture has oh-so-lovingly embraced (see above), Halloween has turned into yet another excuse for college students to get ridiculously drunk (as if we needed one). So I promise to all of you that at my Halloween party this year, at which I will replace bowls of candy corn and mini-snickers bars with bottles of cheap vodka (yum), I will take a moment between drinks to reminisce on the days that I sat on the floor with my two childhood best friends counting candy bars, probably wearing the same exact Dorothy costume I wore sixteen years ago.

Halloween is all about getting spooky, scary and frightening. In elementary school, this meant carving scary pumpkins, dressing up as witches, and watching Hocus Pocus on ABC family. In college, not much has changed (including the annual viewing of Hocus Pocus). The scariest part about Halloween for college students is not goblins, ghosts and ghouls, but rather the decisions we make whilst inebriated in costume. I will go into no further detail but to say that Halloween remains to be just as rowdy and frightening as a holiday as it did in junior high, when shaving cream and egg fights were something to be desired.

So this year on Halloween, as you walk by a group of adorable children with candy-baskets full of treats and innocence, remember that you yourself are not so different. Like them, you’ll still be enjoying a holiday full of costumes, treats, and frights – just of a slightly different variety. Enjoy Halloween this year knowing that at least some of your youth still remains on the 31stof October.

Happy Halloween.

Senior at University of Michigan studying International Studies and Spanish. Born and raised in New York. Love running and practicing yoga. Obsessed with any and all things food and travel related.

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