Halloween leaves childhood behind


John Flanegin

HALLOWEENHalloween has always been much more than just another holiday. Every Oct. 31, the memories come back of the smell of brisk chilly air and the crunch of leaves underneath my shoes as I walked from house to house, collecting my bag of heavenly morsels. Laughs and screams alike filled the dark rooms of haunted houses and streets all across America, while parents once again got to create an alias for just one night. Jack-o’-lanterns light up the porches and yards of every residence flickering and dancing with the wind. Kids stay up to watch movies that haunt their sleep for months at a time and teens stay out late playing pranks they’ll regret the next day.
Autumn has always been my favorite season for a multitude of reasons, the weather is great, football begins its reign over the Flanegin household, baseball playoffs are in full swing and the holiday that allows you to be a completely different being, Halloween, rolls around. The anticipation of making more of these fantastically frightening memories consumed my dreams and frequented my thoughts as soon as the days grew shorter and the air turned cooler.
Visits to pop-up stores bearing the name “Halloween City” or “Fright Night” would last up to three hours as I pondered about which costume would fit me perfectly and make the most waves amongst my friends and neighbors. Pirate, Ninja or Skeleton? There were so many options often times my mom would just choose my costume for me because it took too long to make up my mind. When the last day of October finally arrived I would leap out of bed, put on my costume and eagerly head to school. Hours began to seem like days as I strenuously waited for the yearly Halloween Party. Wax lips similar to those of Angelina Jolie’s adorned our faces and snacks made to look like eyeballs and blood lined the tables, but the real party had yet to begin.
I would stare out the front door peering onto the sidewalk in anticipation of watching another trick or treater begin to make their nightly rounds. When I was finally released from my shackles and after having to listen to a 30-minute speech from my parents about what and what not to do when on my expedition to get candy, I would round up my fellow compadres and head for mighty sea of confectionary concoctions that lie ahead. Door to door we went with our pillow cases, plastic pumpkins, and for the more resourceful, trash bags, cheering after receiving Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and moaning in pain after getting the dreaded “Halloween Pretzels.” At the end of the night we would return to our homes and douse our carpets and floors with our golden wares and eat chocolate until our tongues turned brown.
Now-a-days, such memories seem like faint and faded pictures, and those of us who once spent days upon weeks on finding the best candy route have turned into those handing it out. Our once harmless costumes consisting of cute princesses and witches have changed to sexy nurse and erotic electrician. Cats with copious amounts of cleavage line the walls of the stores we once adored going to.
Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with these drastic changes and I’ve become cynical and unaware of what Halloween is all about for teenagers in the 21st century. It’s been hard adjusting from a holiday that used to consist of bobbing for apples and scaring my best friends to sitting at home handing out candy or attending a party and watching a stranger get blackout drunk. If I could achieve one thing this Halloween, it would be to remember what these memories were like and try to make it just as great, if not better, for the three foot vampire or princess coming to my door this very Oct. 31.
By John Flanegin