Halloween and teens. Are you already nodding your head? The advice columns and threads abound! Halloween is quickly becoming a very exclusive holiday, which is so sad and frustrating as it is a favorite holiday for us (like, we could dress up and eat candy every day-totally for real!). Based on the sheer number of comments and conversations we’re recently seen, children who have passed the arbitrary threshold of teendom, should not continue having fun or engaging in family time. Apparently, trick-or-treating is only for those who haven’t hit the double digits. Some commentary is plain mean and really demonstrates a lack of knowledge in regards to child and adolescent development. Our motto? It’s Halloween-don’t be mean!
Remember the awkwardness?
Think back to when you were in that awkward stage of life. You still enjoyed everything that you did as an eight and nine year old, but now you had additional interests. You were overjoyed with He-man and the Masters of the Universe just as much as being able to stay the night at your friend’s house. Funnily, you loved taking care of your Tamagotchi and meeting your friends at the movies without your parents. You fought for more freedom, yet you were thankful that you didn’t yet have the stress that came with your parent’s life. You were navigating wanting to be an adult, feeling grown, but also feeling insecure. Maybe you were a little embarrassed every time a word came out of your mouth that didn’t sound like you or every time you looked in the mirror, you were shocked to see the changes that occurred simply because you didn’t feel as old as you looked. On top of that, you were given more responsibility-more homework, more chores, more independence, and more chances to make your own choices…and mistakes. And you did! You would come home from school exhausted and yet still craving to just be the kid that you actually were. You wanted to embrace the part of you that was, without a doubt, a child. A bigger child, sure, but a child nonetheless. But the opportunity wasn’t there. You were expected to be the mature or surly teen.
Halloween is the day to be a kid!
Then, that one time of the year rolls around when you can step off that cusp and own your inner silliness and adventure. The whole year everyone told you to not worry about growing up or doing adult things, although they sure expected it! Halloween was a welcome respite. Now though? Now, teens are told that they are too old! They are being expected to handle multiple responsibilities and relationships. They don’t get to be goofy. Because we are treating teens like mini-adults, we are failing to recognize their unique stage of development. They want and they need to still celebrate their childhood. Halloween is the ultimate representation of whimsy and adventure that childhood is. Teens don’t (usually) live independently, have careers, or otherwise act as adults. Really, they shouldn’t have to because their brains are still developing! To expect them mimic adulthood while they are essentially children who are simply in another stage is unfair and unwise.
This is especially true on the one day of the year where everyone likes to play and dress up. One could argue that anyone and everyone could use some Halloween fun and trick-or-treating. In all seriousness, many of us adults do plenty of things that are similar to it, such as going to Comic-con and doing Cosplay! In any case, those teens that are knocking on doors tonight just want to enjoy the fun that is Halloween, and honestly, they could be doing activities that are dangerous or unsafe, but instead, they have chosen to celebrate. Celebrate with them! Give ’em some candy and save some for yourself.