I was a child candy fiend


Sam Hartley

Avery Bliss

Halloween: that magical time of the year synonymous with candy, costumes and small children yelling “trick-or-treat” at every house they come to.

But as those same children grow up and enter college and, in some part, the world of adults, Halloween takes on a new meaning. In college, I have noticed that this evening that was once filled with innocence turns into one of the biggest partying nights of the year.

So with all of the differences between the two age groups on this night, who really has it better in terms of candy haul, costume creativity and overall fun? Let us take a closer look.

In both age groups, one factor is incredibly important in determining the level of fun to be had: location. As a child on Halloween, if you are out in the boonies with the nearest house several miles away, then the chances of anyone seeing your costume or giving you candy dwindles down immensely.

One of the largest benefits of being a kid on Halloween is the candy. Grabbing anything that looks like it could hold a large quantity — pillowcases, a shopping bag, wheelbarrows — kids race off to collect their yearly tithe of sugar.

Of course, you can get candy at any time as an adult. But what makes Halloween candy so special to the child is the fact that they had to “work” for it. With all of the preparations that go into the costume, getting into character and staying that way for hours, it really tastes sweeter when the kid knows he or she has earned it.

Also, the fact that Halloween is a once-a-year event makes you relish and hoard every last piece.
I always loved the houses that handed out regular sized candies. In a sea of miniature Snickers and Dum-Dums, there was almost always one house in the development packing full-sized Baby Ruths.

But getting all of that candy requires a costume that is cool enough to warrant such extravagant gifts of chocolate. You couldn’t just strap on a red towel and call yourself Superman.

On year, one of my younger brothers went out dressed as Rocky Balboa, the fictional boxer, complete with the entire ensemble of gear: boxing gloves, athletic shorts and wrestling shoes, with no shirt but wearing a leather bomber jacket. To us kids, it was the height of cool that he was a boxer but, to the adults around us, it was their childhood reincarnated.

Full-sized candies were awarded to my brother that Halloween.

My favorite costume from my childhood was my Wolverine from the X-Men, complete with claws, a penchant for weird hair and the snarling way he talks. There was just something about receiving candy in the plastic grip of those claws strapped onto my hands.

These days, if you are so inclined to look up costumes for adults, there stands a great chance that there will be a lot of risqué costumes. Because adults, or whatever college-aged people are, don’t trick-or-treat, but instead attend parties.

With costumes like the hyper-sexualized Harley Quinn from the recent “Suicide Squad” movie to the ever-classy cartoon penis to the sexy ____. Seriously, insert any occupation or item you have laying around into that blank space, and there is a virtual guarantee that there is an adult costume out there like that.

But perhaps that is the fun of it. As a kid, Halloween was about going up to strangers and asking for candy. However, older people are more into Halloween interaction of the social variety. Those, of course, who aren’t just staying indoor for the holiday, praying nobody knocks on their doors.

Parties are a more commonplace thing for American adults on Halloween to participate in. To come to a party in a funny costume and laugh and have a good time is one of the biggest plus sides to this holiday.

Another plus side for adults is the viewing of scary movies. If you tried to show a horror movie to a nine-year-old on Halloween, they would most likely require therapy afterwards.

Last year on Halloween, in a dark room late at night, I watched the Australian indie-horror film, “The Babadook.” Just thinking about it now gives me the shivers. I normally abhor watching horror movies, preferring the ability to fall asleep without being afraid of the dark. But Halloween is the one night where scary things and movies become part of the social norm.

And while on the subject of scary things, creepy corn mazes and haunted houses are suddenly a thing worth going to during this time of year. For the children, corn mazes are best done during the day. They have fun navigating the twists and turns in the comfort of the daylight.

Then night comes, and the maze is eerie and dark with maybe a touch of evil-looking fog creeping through the ears of corn. When all of a sudden some vague and dark shape leaps out of the inky black night at you, your heart starts to pound and your body floods with adrenaline.

The best part about that experience is knowing it’s not real and that danger isn’t close to snatching you away. Stimulating our bodies and minds like this makes us feel alive. And science has shown that this can actually be quite good for your health, despite the terror of the moment.

So, in the end, both the children and adults alike can have fun on All Hallows’ Eve. The adults can scare themselves silly, and then the children can console them with their immense bulk of chocolate.