Halloween traditions decrease as high schoolers age


Feature photo by Abby Blitz

Ji-Sung Lee

As Oct. 31 nears, the excitement for creative costumes and carved pumpkins increases for children who anticipate filling bags with candy and other sweet treats.  
For high schoolers, however, the evening is not always spent walking around neighborhoods ringing doors for candy; it is often spent attending parties or staying home in apparel far from a costume. The significance of the treat-filled evening complete with spooky decorations seems to decline in popularity as adolescents age.
In a survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), trick-or-treating should be retired by age 12.  Though the older age may contribute to the suggested quitting of trick-or-treating, high schoolers may argue against this.  While older generations might disagree to the many hours spent ringing doorbells, Today conducted a survey and found that 29 percent of people believed trick-or-treating should never end.
Despite the reducing high schoolers trick-or-treating, sophomore Polina Kopeikin believes the tradition should continue no matter the age.
“I’m dressing as Harley Quinn because I like the comics. She’s popular because of the movie ‘Suicide Squad’,”  Kopeikin said.  “I think that nobody is too old for trick-or-treating because everyone likes candy, and dressing up is fun and interesting. The only problem would be social standards.”
With her costume and festivities all planned out, the excitement continues to climb for Kopeikin, who believes going all out for the once-a-year holiday is completely acceptable.
“My family usually throws a party for a lot of our friends,” Kopeikin said. “I’m probably going to invite a few friends, dress up and go trick-or-treating with them, too.”
Despite having norms, Kopeikin believes if there’s no harm, everyone might as well spend the night dressed in character. Though her peers may have differing opinions, Kopeikin plans on spending the evening enjoying the holiday.
For sophomore Ben Yelton, however, his decisions on trick-or-treating is often dependent on what his friends will do. These traditions are centered around groups of people who enjoy doing these activities together such as watching scary movies and collecting candy.
“It’s not that I don’t want to go. It’s just not really something my friends would do,” Yelton said.  “I think it would be kind of fun at this age, though.”
On the other hand, junior Yoojin Jeong is certain that going into high school has ended traditions of running around neighborhoods with baskets of candy.
“I just think I am too old for trick-or-treating on Halloween,” Jeong said.  “This year there were a lot of accidents, like clowns that happened, too, so I am afraid to be out late just with my friends even though it’s a neighborhood that I know.”
Although Jeong won’t be roaming the streets ringing for candy, she believes those who want to throw family Halloween parties, carve pumpkins and dress in their favorite character should do so if they wish.
“If they love the Halloween spirit and enjoy all the festivities, they should savor the holiday by doing something they like,” Jeong said.
Family-run costume store Gotcha, on Walnut Street in downtown Columbia has been serving as the destination stop for any costume.  While Gotcha doesn’t mind the age of the buyer, retail worker Isolde Finney has noticed a trend in its costumers.
“Probably the majority of our customers are college aged kids, but we do get quite a wide variety,” Finney said.  “Absolutely October is our busiest time of the year, as well.  We do see a little of increase in business around Christmas with Santa suits, but many just Halloween.”
While the uncertainty regarding Halloween traditions circulates through high schoolers, Yelton believes the holiday is more about making memories rather than putting limits on children.
“I don’t think people should stop trick-or-treating at a certain age because youth is the definition of creativity,” Yelton said. “Little kids don’t care what other people think of them, they just want a really cool costume. They just want to be happy, and that’s all that matters.”
Do you think you are ever too old for Halloween traditions such as trick-or-treating?