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When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to be a power ranger or a jedi knight. That is to say, Halloween gave me the opportunity to be as creative as I wanted toward becoming the figures I looked up to in movies and on television.

In the end, that’s what Halloween enables every child to do: become their heroes and simply enjoy Halloween and its creative potential (getting candy is a plus too).

But what does it mean now? Why has the Halloween spirit donned its own guise and hidden itself away from us older participants? The answer lies in blatant consumerism and the inappropriate nature of Halloween that rears itself to an aging public.

Halloween is agreeably about the scares, the fright that seeps into all who actually enjoy the holiday in its essence. However, the true terror comes from the transformation one realizes it’s undergone throughout the years; The scare is now in the public’s mindless mistreatment of what was once held dear to us as children.

Companies take advantage of the consumer by marketing candy and costumes at a constant rate throughout this holiday’s tenure in October. This may be the case for the remainder of the holiday season, late October being plagued with pre-Thanksgiving and Christmas product placement.

Still, the constancy that is this business strategy reminds us every ten seconds that Halloween is approaching and weighs heavily on our anticipation of the day itself. The holiday is becoming nothing more than another billboard or commercial urging us to buy our costumes and candy, empty our wallets while the law of diminishing returns takes its course.

Horrible still is corporations not being the only factors which sap Halloween of its thrill. What does so primarily is the process of aging we all undergo, and the transition into adorning ourselves with inappropriate attire that besmears the vision we once possessed as children in favor of looking comically sluttish.

Over time we eventually forget what it was like dressing as our favorite super hero, or going through the process of trick-or-treating and stockpiling the sackfuls of candy we acquired throughout the night.

Instead, conspicuously revealing and horrendously moronic costumes are worn to fit the seemingly appropriate transition into adulthood that has encapsulated our minds. Crude humor overshadows Superman year by year, and frequent parties are preferred over walking in our costumes like we once did.

Preferably, Halloween could be more enjoyable in dressing up appropriately even as adults, or merely staying home and watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” for the upteenth time since elementary school. Needless to say, that is how I would prefer to spend my night. Though it doesn’t include the mountains of candy it once did, it holds nostalgia and horror-filled fun year after year.

Unfortunately, beneath the stigma Halloween now possesses, it’s truly devoid of any real entertainment like before.

What Halloween comes down to is more than dressing up, it is truly becoming someone (or something) else for a night, rendering a method of escapism that allowed adolescents to open their minds to their characters, because at some point we actually believed we were princesses, caped heroes, monsters and so much more.

 

Abel Saldana is a first-year English major. He can be reached at abelrs@uci.edu

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