Halloween sure ain’t what it used to be. Gone are the days of having Mom paint on that pirate goatee or sew that bright pink bow on the back of the princess gown. And the only block where we can still trick-or-treat with Dad is on Memory Lane, his flashlight in one hand, and our unwanted candy in the other.
All Hallow's Eve in college is a different animal—or more likely, a different scantily-clad nurse or over-zealous, under-dressed cheerleader. Most participate in festivities simply for candy corn, booze, and good times. But for many college students, Halloween is an excuse to indulge in uncharacteristic behavior, taking advantage of a night in costume to shirk individual identities and act out. While some take this as an opportunity to adorn themselves in sexy, gruesome, or even intellectually stimulating attire, others ignore costumes in exchange for kooky or destructive pranks. The allusion of evil can inspire actual destruction, with holiday decorations, pumpkins, and trash cans bearing the brunt of the vandalism.
Of course, we can’t celebrate Halloween the same old way. Except for “that kid” in your Hum class, nobody should still go door to door. And with alcohol instead of Almond Joys, our festivities are bound to take a turn toward debauchery. That said, the holiday first and foremost belongs to the children. As a result, every adult has the responsibility to help preserve the innocent fun of costumes and candy. College students—many of whom live in apartments – should seize the opportunity to be good neighbors, buying the best candy and giving away most of it. Those who drive have to realize that the bevy of ballerinas up ahead are not an alcohol-induced hallucination, but a group of school girls still sincerely enamored with candy. With kids on the streets, drunk driving is all the more unacceptable, and there is never any place for vandalism. The great joy of Halloween is that the horror is contrived; students should be mindful not to dispel this impression by unleashing the real demon of irresponsible intoxication.
In college, though our treats may have changed, we have to strive to maintain every American kid’s inalienable right to trick-or-treat in safety.