Young children have long known Halloween as a time of frights and sweets, and this Halloween won’t likely be any different. According to the 2010 Census, there are an estimated 36 million potential trick-or-treaters — kids ages 5 to 13 — ready to dress up and become beggars this week.
However, many of the zombies, vampires and other monsters from years past are also preparing to scare up some candy, despite having grown in both age and size.
Fairmont sophomore John “Bubba” Harris — who stands 6’ 5” — says he may be going trick-or-treating this year. “I want to hang out with my friends and go out for the candy,” said Harris. “What’s better than that?”
Harris doesn’t think his parents would mind because they still see him as a little kid, though he admits that the people in his neighborhood might think he’s too tall.
Sophomore Gabby Norrod wants to go dressed as a flapper with her best friend Emily Bascom to get candy in her neighborhood. She hasn’t talked to her parents about going trick-or-treating, but when she mentioned the flapper costume, her mom laughed at her. Most of Norrod’s neighbors have little kids who will also be out on Halloween. “I think that my neighbors will think it’s cool I’m going out because I’m 16. Or they’ll just laugh at me,” she said.
Freshman Sarah Conard is also ready to head out on Halloween. She and her mom like to go out and get candy on Halloween. “My neighborhood doesn’t have a lot of other kids my age, so they like to see people going out and trick-or-treating,” said Conard.
However, Biology teacher Mary-Grace Gnau sees Halloween as another holiday that has been taken away from little kids by adults and teenagers. “Most teenagers, at least my daughters, like to dress up for Halloween. I think the candy part is for little kids,” said Gnau.
When her daughters wanted to go trick-or-treating, Gnau would discourage them from going out. However, she knew they wouldn’t do anything stupid, so she would eventually allow them to go. Through the years, Gnau has noticed a rise in the number of high school students heading out for Halloween. She said she remembers fewer teens trick-or-treating when she was a child.
Social Studies teacher Scott Byer also thinks high school students are too old to be going out on Halloween. Byer says he stopped going out after 8th grade, but even then he felt out of place among the younger kids. “I remember on Halloween going up to a house to get candy and there being little 3- or 4-year-olds behind me. I still took the candy but felt that they were more deserving,” he said.
Alternate Halloween activities
Many other places in Ohio are open on and around Halloween for teenagers to enjoy the holiday without begging for candy. In Middletown, the Land of Illusion has haunted trails filled with creeps and haunts ready to scare all visitors. The Haunted Cave in Lewisburg hosts the longest running haunted cave. The cave is full of ghosts, ghouls and bats that overwhelm the pathway, ready to fill visitors with fear as they traverse the route.
For teens who want to go out on Halloween without the fright, many attractions in Ohio offer alternatives. Both Germantown and Bellbrook have corn mazes to get lost in with friends. Tom’s Corn Maze in Germantown is in its 13th season, and its eight acres are mowed in the shape of a pumpkin. Bellbrook’s Adventure Acres has four different mazes in which to wander and a tower from which to view all eight-and-a-half miles of trails. Adventure Acres also has a petting zoo, hayrides and a fire pit to entertain visitors.
It’s hard to resist the appeal of free candy, but there are many other opportunities for teens to have fun on Halloween. If they can’t make it to one of the major attractions, teens could also enjoy spreading the fears and joys of Halloween to younger monsters by passing out candy in their neighborhood.