Sifting through sugar, clothed in creative costumes, Rider students will surely enjoy Halloween this coming Friday. No matter your age, this holiday signifies playful fun and, of course, bags and bags of candy. However, as time passes, it seems that the innocence of Halloween drifts away with the years.
In some circles, Halloween has evolved into a different day, an excuse for behavior that is generally discouraged. The holiday comes with an air of eeriness and fear, but these ideas come from tradition. Halloween is rooted in ancient Celtic ideas. The Celts, who celebrated their new year on Nov. 1, believed that the lines between the living and dead blur on the night of Halloween. While this holiday has spooky roots, there remains no reason for fear-inciting, inappropriate behavior on this holiday.
The evening prior to Halloween is often referred to as Mischief Night. On this night, individuals prowl the streets, playing pranks and vandalizing buildings. On the surface, it may not seem as though these actions hold much potential for danger. But in 2009, two adults in Trenton were arrested for selling cocaine on Mischief Night. One 17-year-old was arrested for aggravated assault, and 31 other teenagers were also arrested, all on the same night before Halloween. Mischief Night is simply another reason for individuals to wreak havoc on neighborhoods and instill fear.
However, this behavior does not always cease the next night. Last Halloween, according to ABC News online, a 12-year-old boy from Pennsylvania reportedly found a razor blade in a package of M&M’s. There is no logical reason for a child’s candy to have a weapon in its packaging, other than someone simply trying to hurt another person. On any other day, children can feel free to consume their candy with glee. However, on Halloween, children are taught to follow a set of instructions before even thinking of eating their sugary treats. They must inspect their candy and then pass it along to their parents to inspect. Halloween is the only day of the year when anyone is afraid of what is in a candy wrapper.
This holiday has also strayed from an innocent childhood holiday in a more raunchy way. Popular costume stores such as Party City hold more than witch and ghost costumes. Costumes manufactured for women include the “naughty school girl” or the “sexy nip-tuck nurse.” While no one should be shamed for her fashion choices, this is mostly what Party City and other stores have to offer women. Young girls and women are encouraged to wear as little as possible on Halloween. Outfits no longer need to be innovative or reflect one’s interests – they simply need to expose a lot of skin.
College students may also seek more indulgent forms of fun this Halloween. Many parties will include alcohol, aptly timed on a Friday evening. Students are likely to take advantage of this holiday, utilizing it as an excuse to drink and behave wildly. While fun may accompany the presence of alcohol, so may accidents.
Halloween, our childhood night of candy and laughter, has transformed into something very different. This evening and its connotations do not have to change just because our ages do. Just because we are older does not mean we have to force the holiday to “age” with us. Maturity does not come with inappropriate behavior or revealing clothing.
Allow Halloween to stand as it always has. Let the evening be about fun and excitement. It is time we stop taking the innocence from a holiday that is not only for us, but primarily for children. Do not pull pranks that can harm another person. Dress up, but not in a way that you may feel pressured to. Do not allow Halloween to become an excuse for behavior we typically denounce.
Whether your night is coated in sugar or brightened by a party, enjoy a night of fun and fear without frightening anyone else.
The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Samantha Sawh.
Printed in the 10/29/14 issue.