Halloween: Then vs. Now



Really, the only thing I get excited about is the candy and the fact that it happens to be my friend’s birthday, but she doesn’t go to Rutgers so she probably wouldn’t see this blog (but if she does happen to see it HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FRIEND! Likewise, happy birthday to any other lucky soul who’s birthday happens to be on Halloween (sorry it’s on a Monday, my friend was very upset about this)).

I thought it would be interesting to talk about what Halloween was like when we were all little tykes and compare that to what it’s like in college.

I remember Halloween used to be a big deal in elementary school, and I don’t know why it was. You would think the school systems would want to prevent their kids from coming to school the following day high on sugar, hoping to trade their candy like they were practicing drug deals. (Side note: did your schools have a thing where kids were selling candy, and it became a big deal and it was banned and kids would get suspended for it? Why did that happen? If anyone knows tell me ’cause it was just like Russian candy for a quarter I don’t see the issue because that’s like entrepreneurship and should’ve been praised). They had parades in my school, where you would dress up and walk around for an hour and that was what you did the whole day. Then in high school there would always be one kid who would dress up in class even though it wasn’t technically allowed. I don’t know when kids stopped trick or treating, because I would usually go out anyway since it was my friend’s birthday and she wanted free chocolate. But enough people still went because I distinctly remember being disappointed in teenagers’ lack of costumes when they showed up to my house asking for candy. I should’ve said no to them to teach them a lesson.

Halloween at college seems a bit different from what I heard. I’m a physics/astrophysics major, so I don’t have time to have a life and do anything, therefore I have no first-hand experience. BUT when I hear about Halloween, it’s a weekend event, where people go from party to party. Once when I was walking on campus I saw some students in costume and I was surprised that people still dressed up for Halloween in college. That just seems like effort to me now, like I can’t spend an entire weekend partying. I don’t even like socializing that much — how do people do it? I’m tired of my friends after two hours; I couldn’t handle a bunch of strangers for two whole days. Also, I have lab on Monday, and I have to read an average of three-four chapters of my physics textbooks over the weekend, like how is this possible? My friend, whose birthday is on Halloween, also complained to me that she has her hardest exam the next day, so she can’t do anything over the weekend and maybe not even on her actual birthday.

So based on these observations, the enjoyment of Halloween changed to two options: extra fun now that we’re older and can do things by ourselves, or bitter acknowledgement that we’re older and have responsibilities that we’re too anxious to neglect. In both cases the aging process was the trigger to cause these changes. I just thought it was kind of interesting to see these new perspectives, because these are our years where we’re supposed to be “free and wild and crazy” and stuff.

If you’ve sat through and read the entirety of my nonsense rambling, you deserve a reward. I don’t think I’m legally allowed to give you money (nor would I want to, I’m quite attached to my money) so you’re getting some HALLOWEEN FUN FACTS! Make your friends jealous with your copious amounts of not-so-necessary knowledge that I will provide to you.

  1. The earliest evidence of Halloween celebrations dates back to Celtic New Year celebrations. It was considered “day of the dead.” They marked it as the start of winter, thus it was associated with death, so they believed that souls would come to Earth during the last day of October.
  2. In medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl call meant someone was about to die. So if you see an owl on Halloween look out, a clown might be behind you.
  3. The reason black and orange are popular Halloween colors is because orange (which can loosely be seen as gold and brown) represent the harvest, and black represents the death that used to be associated with the end of October. Pretty darned cheery if you ask me: “look we have corn now but don’t forget you’re all gonna die soon.” Good stuff.
  4. Harry Houdini died on Halloween night in 1926. Maybe he’ll come back on Halloween one year. His greatest trick ever??? Only time will tell.
  5. There have been instances where people thought they were driving by an amazing Halloween decoration when it was actually a dead body. So uh, if your neighbors have a really REALLY realistic looking body hanging out their window, maybe call somebody. They’re either master decorators or serial killers.

Happy Halloween everybody: stay safe! Ignore the diddly darned Christmas aisles in stores: that holiday can wait its turn.


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