The Life

The Great Debate: How Old is Too Old to Celebrate Halloween?

Short answer: you're never too old to celebrate Halloween. At least, that's what I will be telling myself.

This article really has no point and may just be a ramble, but as the Halloween season (a.k.a. my FAVOURITE season) is in full effect, it’s been a topic on my mind since my first post-graduation Halloween last year. And my guess is if you’re reading this, you’ve thought the exact same thing.

It’s a question I’ve never really had to ask myself before – dressing up in costume and celebrating Halloween was a given, every year. Granted, I was also the one trick or treating until I was about 15 years old and people my age started handing out candy…you could say I’ve always been a late bloomer. But once I realized I was too old for the fun part of Halloween, I had to find my fun elsewhere: Halloween-themed parties.

Okay so, your version of a high school Halloween party and my version of one may be different – my idea of an amazing Halloween night was my best friends who shared my love of horror, a few terrifying horror movies, a night trip to Walmart for snacks and ordering in some pizza. I literally ended my 19th birthday by watching “Friday the 13th” (since Jason- the serial killer in the movie-‘s birthday was also June 13th, which strangely excited me). All this to say that I’ve always really enjoyed Halloween, if you didn’t catch that part.

Anyone who’s gone to university or college knows that there isn’t a shortage of Halloween celebrations on campus – from people dressing up in class to the numerous bashes thrown around your student town, it was hard to walk into a coffee shop without walking past a house prepping for their party. The point is, it never crossed my mind that there would come a day when people no longer wanted to celebrate Halloween, as if it was a childish affair.

When my first post-graduate Halloween was approaching and no one was making any plans, I was shocked. There was no way that we weren’t celebrating. When someone said, “Aren’t we too old?”, my jaw practically hit the floor. Of all the things I was adjusting to after graduation, that was a tough pill to swallow.

Here’s the thing: Halloween does have some spooky history. It originated from a Celtic Pagan festival called “Samhain”, when people believed that on the day of Halloween, spirits roamed the earth and the boundary between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. It marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of the darker half of the year (“The winter is coming”). I’m not going to get into what used to go down at these festivals – there’s a lot of weird information out there that’s hard to believe but would make sense, given all the myths we believe to this day (I’ll say this: a black cat crossing your path is considered bad luck, and back then they believed black cats were witches. I’ll leave the result of these beliefs to your imagination). Interestingly enough, I found out that in Irish mythology, Samhain was considered to be the Easter festival of Pagans, and every seven years they would hold an epic “Feast of Tara” (coincidence? I think not), during which they would drink, do activities, and set new laws and council for the village. Oh, and the portal to the Otherworld would open and allow supernatural beings and souls of the dead to enter our world. Minor detail.

On the other hand, Halloween was also a matchmaking holiday in old time Ireland. Young women would mark apples during apple bobbing, and since apples were a symbol of fertility, when a man caught her apple, it could be a perfect love match. Who needs Tinder? I suppose the modern day version of this is dressing up as the Khaleesi and hoping to find a Drogo roaming around town.

I realize this blog post had no plot structure, no line of reasoning and may read as a collection of juxtaposed diary entries. My point was really just that if you enjoy celebrating Halloween, just do it. Whatever your reasons may be. I love dressing up and turning into another person for a day – it’s why I worked on the costume team for a musical theatre group for 2 years. I love horror movies – we have an awesome horror film festival that goes on during October in Toronto called the “After Dark Film Festival”, which I’ll probably be attending. Point is, if you’re passionate about it, find a way to make it your own. It may be a bit more work than it was in university, but isn’t everything?

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