Trick-or-Treat? How the adults stole Halloween

Photo courtesy of Gillian Freedman

For children under the age of 10, Halloween is a close second to holidays like birthdays and Christmas. Between the ages of 10 and 17, however, Halloween loses some of its charm. Most teens opt out of costumes, choosing to either pass out candy to the kids knocking on their front doors or to have low-key gatherings with their equally “too-cool” friends. But by the time college hits, Halloween is back and bigger than ever.

According to USA Today, adults have hijacked Halloween from children. Within the past decade, 18- to 30-year-olds have taken over Halloween, and it looks like Halloween has been repossessed for good. Celebrations like New York City’s Greenwich Village Halloween Parade have started to expect crowds of about 2 million--90 percent of whom are adults--to arrive in costume to celebrate this quirky holiday.

As for the $8 billion that consumers are estimated to spend on Halloween products this year, that’s for the adults as well--reasonable when considering the fact that over half of the Halloween costumes purchased today are for adults.

This Halloween takeover was inevitable, as movies like the Halloween film franchise target an adult audience, and haunted houses prey on girls in their upper teens who enjoy scary situations because they can scream together. But Halloween celebrations are arguably the most prevalent among college students, as it has become the second largest liquor-purchasing holiday after New Year’s.

Photo courtesy of Gillian Freedman

Take BC, for example. Halloween costumes were spotted as early as last Thursday, almost a full week before Oct. 31. This year’s Wednesday night Halloween (and double “Halloweekend”) gives students over a week of opportunities to come up with the cutest, most creative and at times raunchiest costumes to wear while drinking together.

Halloween has become THE college holiday, the one time of year when it is almost guaranteed that everyone will be spirited and dress up in some way, save St. Patrick’s Day at BC when most students are equally as excited. Halloween is the holiday of the college (and 10 years post-college) generation. It no longer belongs to the trick-or-treating neighborhood kids, who may now find themselves knocking on the doors of empty homes, the residents off to a Halloween party.

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