Column: Halloween is dead


Senior Erland Merwin rests in his Joker costume near the top of the stairs in the hallway on the steps to the Auditorium on Halloween. “We live in a society,” Merwin said, quoting one of the Joker’s most famous and meme-ified lines. In this column, writer Maddie Moats highlights the many reasons for which she claims the Halloween spirit has died.

As a kid, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays to celebrate, and it garnered some of my fondest memories. I would be so excited when Spirit Halloween and other Halloween stores would finally open in September, and I made sure every year to go with a friend and bask in all of the spook of the season. I loved dressing up, putting so much time into perfecting my costume and going trick-or-treating with my friends. I would always treasure my pillowcase of candy, guarding it with my life from my older brother, who always tried to steal from me. It wasn’t just me that loved Halloween though; it felt like everyone around me was hyped-up for it, too. My dad and his friend would spend weeks setting up a small haunted house in his garage as a fun attraction on Halloween night for trick-or-treaters. My mom would go crazy decorating the house, and we would always have a day dedicated to carving pumpkins and roasting the seeds. In school, we did fun activities or watched festive videos in celebration of the holiday. The best Halloween shows and movies would air on Disney Channel, and I would come home from school, long before homework was a thing, and relax in my living room while watching them. Halloween was just something that everyone seemed to love so much.

Nowadays, Halloween is dead.

Halloween has dwindled down to an afterthought to most of my peers. The extent of attention given toward Halloween, at least as far as I have seen, is limited to lackluster chatter about last-minute plans, a couple of people wearing their costumes at school and some people going to haunted houses. Honestly, that’s pretty much it.

Of course, as we grow up, Halloween inevitably loses the magic it held when we were younger. We mature, have jobs, are buried with homework and have other things to worry about besides ghosts and ghouls. In high school, it seems there just is not enough time to justify going all-out for Halloween. Even trick-or-treating loses its appeal when we can just drive to Walmart and easily buy a bag of the candy we like. I feel that this generation, more than any other, has really lost touch with the spirit of Halloween.

Responsibilities come into conjunction with a common fear among high schoolers – embarrassing themselves in front of their peers – to contribute to a disinterested attitude toward Halloween. For many, myself included, high school can be a scary place to put yourself in a position of vulnerability, and wearing a crazy costume could be terrifying to the person wearing it, not just to the ones around them. However, putting on a costume really is so much fun. Halloween is one of the only opportunities to pretend to be anything you want, and it is kind of liberating to do that when you just don’t care what others think anymore. This confidence, in most cases, actually gains the respect and admiration of others instead of putting them off.

To bring Halloween back from the dead next year, the biggest thing we can do is encourage each other and build the confidence of our friends to let loose and dress up. Just for the fun of it. Hype-up your friends, dress up with them, dedicate a day to all of the Halloween festivities and be as goofy as possible, because the pressures and responsibilities in life will only increase as we get older. We might as well milk it for all of its spooky worth now.