For five years, I was a ninja. The days leading up to Oct. 31 would be dedicated to making sure my uniform fit, honing my plastic weapon skills and prepping my little legs for the arduous journey that was to occur. No house would be safe. My cohort was typically made up of at least one famous athlete (there was definitely a span of three years where John Elway made an appearance in the greater Philadelphia-area suburbs), a Viking, a grim reaper and for that one really weird Halloween, Beetlejuice. During the trek across the neighborhood, you’d not be surprised to find an entire royal family of princesses, half of the Philadelphia Eagles roster at the time or disgustingly 80s-esque rockstars.
The night was for fun. More often than not, you were allowed to spend a school night with your friends, while dragging your parents from neighborhood to neighborhood, promising them that after one more house, you’d have enough—you knew quite well that there’s never enough, sneaky. I wouldn’t venture as far as to say that it was a moment of blissful childhood ignorance, due to the gratuitous amounts of weapons, fake blood, monsters, ghouls, et cetera, used to scare the hell out of one another, but it was close. Playing make-believe in full attire could, at times, border on Christmas-level excitement.
Regardless of the wide range of costumes and life choices made during childhood Halloweens, your inquiries as to why so-and-so chose such-and-such costume would be met with any of the following: “because [insert costume] are my favorite,” “when I grow up, I want to be a [costume]” or “ninjas are the coolest thing on the planet, idiot.” Depending on the age range, the answer maybe more or less eloquent, but the gist is the same: it’s fun to act out your fantasy life, if only for one night of the year.
Then high school arrives, and you may come to the realization that there could be better things to do with your Oct. 31st than traipse across town begging the townsfolk for candy and sugar-induced comas. Like, literally anything. At all.
I’ll admit that I’m seven years away from my last trick-or-treat experience, and I’m happy to be at this point in my life, but now there’s college. College presents that head-spinning simultaneous evolution and devolution of our maturity; we want to be adults, but we reserve the right to riot should you take away our ability to wear a costume on Halloween, which is fine. Sometimes.
Other times, you need to cock your head to the side and ask yourself: “does that 21-year-old girl really want to pretend to be a firefighter?” Because if she does, excellent, but you may want to suggest that she not wear a spandex miniskirt to the fire. Or the guy who says he’s dressed up as Tarzan. He just forgot his costume, bar the towel he’s calling a “loincloth.”
Keep in mind, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be having fun, because college is sometimes viewed as the final frontier for unhindered enjoyment of your weekend. I just feel as if you shouldn’t use one night of playing dress-up as an excuse to go out of your way to dress any more scantily clad than you normally do because “that’s what people do.”
It’s important to have fun, but even more important to do it within the boundaries of your self-imposed comfort zone. Any deviation from that could be both uncomfortable and unfortunate, depending on where you find yourself. This year especially could come with complications due to Halloween falling on a Monday: we’re having a full weekend of celebrations. Hopefully, we can all recognize within ourselves that any extra unnecessary risks aren’t the thing we should be looking for, so finding that group of friends whom we can dress up and clown around with may be the best course of action. In the end, we’re going to do what we want. Also, it is important to note that this stream of thought is coming from someone who will be wearing green tights with lace, so take that for what it’s worth.