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Opinion: Rediscovering Halloween in college

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Everything either tastes like pumpkins, caramel or some other “fall-related” flavor. People are giving away treats and costume parties are happening all month. Scary movies are on every channel. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid.

For my family, Halloween was a major affair. Grandmamma Smith would make chili, my dad and his brothers would find a football game and the aunts would take the kids trick-or-treating. We’d make all of the stops to the best houses — my grandmother’s neighbor gave out homemade Rice-Krispies and Little Debbie cakes. We’d eventually end up back at the house where we’d trade all our candy.

But the real fun came after the high school kids showed up. My mom would pile all of the high school kids and their friends into the back of her Tahoe and would take them to toilet paper houses. I would tag along, bouncing around the back with the big kids. My mom had a rule that we could only roll people we liked — in case we got caught.

I couldn’t wait to be a teenager because I was so excited to play a bigger part in the tradition. But by the time I got to high school, the tradition was dead. Uncles would rather stay home, the older cousins were in college, my friends didn’t want to go trick-or-treating anymore and I eventually stopped wearing my costume to school on Halloween.

It sucked.

This was my favorite holiday ever, but no one else seemed to acknowledge it as anything fun anymore.

I didn’t have much hope for Halloween in college, but I was pleasantly surprised. The majority of my friends still didn’t go trick-or-treating, but now they had parties. I went to my first Halloween party as a sophomore in costume for the first time in years. It was fun — I danced, I had some Halloween themed goodies and I wasn’t the only one in costume (thank god).

I had a great time, but it wasn’t the same. After I got home, I peeled off my wig and started scrubbing off my makeup. Then I realized something:

I’m never going to get back what I had.

I’m never going get back the exact same feelings I had about Halloween when I was little, and as long as I compare every Halloween to the golden age of my childhood, I’ll be disappointed. Instead, I can focus on creating new experiences and enjoying Halloween in a different way. That’s better than ignoring Halloween all together because I can’t ever have that same experience.

I’m not doing that last one. I think that’s why a lot of people have problems with holidays as they grow up. We can’t redo our favorite experience because circumstances change.

So go to a Halloween party, make a special trick-or-treater’s treat, have a pumpkin carving party, make a costume you’d be proud to post on Instagram, write a funny Halloween song or take your little cousins out trick or treating.

Don’t try to recreate an old memory — go make some new ones to look back on. You’ll save yourself some disappointment and have more fun in the long run.

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This article written by Augusta Smith

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