How awesome is Halloween? Perfect strangers handing out free candy, all day. No matter what age you are, you gotta love Halloween, but as we prepare for the big day Wednesday, we quickly realize the way we will celebrate totally depends on one thing — our age. Like many other holidays, the older we get, the less shiny, fun, and exciting the holidays generally become. Sometimes the magic and the mystery wears off, while for others hanging onto their youth, age only makes holidays more magical and mysterious. While babies don’t believe in Santa simply because they can’t talk or they’re still learning "the deal" about the fat man in red, and how that game is played, Halloween on the other hand, is enjoyed just as soon as baby comes home from the hospital whether they like it or not. In fact, Halloween is one of the only holidays we celebrate at every age we are alive — birth to earth. Here are the seven stages of the spooktacular holiday we know as Halloween (where are you this year?):
STAGE 1: Infancy
This is everything from newborn to age three. These poor babies have no idea what’s going on. I remember taking my kids out at this age and got plenty of looks from people handing out goodies thinking the kids were "treating for me". Like my two year old couldn’t scarf town rock hard toffee or that giant can of soda? (gulp gulp) How dare they? (munch munch) It’s all about the kids. (lick lips) Easily recognized: dressed as a pumpkin or pet, they have the warmest of costumes that also double as winter gear. Usually crying and screaming as they ask you for stuff. Mom or Dad are carrying you around/holding your hand.
STAGE 2: Childhood
"The Golden Age" for the holiday. This stage starts with hand holding and ends with mom and dad at the end of the driveway just giving a wave to the homeowner. As a trick or treater, your head explodes with the possibility of collecting bags and bags of candy. You beg your parents to take you to "one last house" and plan how you can get to as many houses as possible to live on candy for the rest of your life. All free candy is good candy and the only problem is running out of space in your goody bag or simply finding them too heavy. Easily recognized: these kids are wearing the "popular costumes" of the season. Often seen running to get most houses in. Parents are seen within shouting distance.
STAGE 3: Early Teens
This is the age of Halloween "enlightenment", 12 to 17. Realizing some candy sucks and some neighbourhoods suck, this is the age when going out with your friends is the game plan, and dragging around your little sister is the nuisance. Packs of these treaters work like a sophisticated swat team, telling others where the good candy is, while warning others when a street has a house handing our fruit, or popcorn balls or toothbrushes. This age starts with a bag of candy, and often ends with a bag of prizes from the local Halloween party put on by the local cops. Easily recognized: these kids are wearing violent, scary or provocative costumes. Mom and Dad are long gone, replaced by fellow troublemakers, often accompanied by a crying little brother/sister saying "wait for me."
STAGE 4: Early Adulthood
This is age 18-25. Trick or treating is over. Unless at this age you got married, started a family and like playing the game of "snakes and ladders", you must slide down to "restart" this column at stage one. You’re holding the crying pumpkin this time. As for the single or dating in this age: jackpot. The women are dressing like a lingerie store and the guys are toning down the scary/violent costumes to attract these "scantily clad" angels and devils of the night. It’s like Halloween is a licence for many in the age to dress the exact way their fathers NEVER EVER wanted them to dress EVER. Easily recognized: walking like a zombie (due to sleep deprivation or intoxication) to a bar or club, often at parties. Mom and Dad are not only a distant memory, but their existence is only recognized when they are thrown in jail for taking a drunken Frankenstein routine into the street, after stealing your neighbour’s inflatable yard pumpkin.
STAGE 5: Adulthood 25-55
It’s official. You’re the picture taker, the costume buyer, the candy purchaser. You are the quarterback for Halloween. You dress up, but it’s because you love Halloween and you either want to scare the pants of anyone who comes to the door, or you want to show your young kids you’re still young too. (But they call you lame and ask you don’t go out with them trick or treating.) The only Halloween parties you go to now are the ones where you find yourself driving across town to pick up your intoxicated stage 4’er. Easily recognized: often hear saying "How many kids are we at?", "Come here, we need to take some pictures" "Who ordered food for tonight?" and "Quick, to the basement, we’re out o candy. Shut the lights off."
STAGE 6: Seniors
This is the age over 55. You’re done. You MUST love Halloween if you’re anywhere near your residence with a porch light on. You remember how when you were young, the costumes were "not as violent" and the girls "wore more clothes." You are likely yelling at the trick or treaters and are asking "And what are you supposed to be?" — almost every time someone comes to the door. Not because the costume is ambiguous, but because you can’t see properly. When you run out of apples, you move to samples of Metamucil your doctor gave you, along with individual prunes. Kids are scared of "your mask" and you’re not wearing one. Easily recognized: often overheard saying "Go away," "These kids are out earlier and earlier every year" and "These kids are out later and later every year. Don’t they realize its past eight o’clock?"
JOKE this Weekend
One Halloween a trick-or-treater came to my door dressed as "Rocky" in boxing gloves and satin shorts. Soon after I gave him some goodies, he returned for more. "Aren’t you the same ‘Rocky’ who left my doorstep a few minutes ago?" I asked. "Yes," he replied, "but now I’m the sequel. I’ll be back three more times tonight too."
*Will also work for Star Wars Costumes, Harry Potter Costumes, and anything from Twilight.
Shari Ann Dickinson
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 27, 2012