Today Lauren pens her thoughts on Halloween and ways that teens and tweens can have fun with a holiday they think they might have outgrown.
By Lauren Galley
October is HERE! Campfires, sweaters, roasted marshmallows, the smell of pumpkin, crunchy leaves, and let’s not forget… Halloween of course! It’s my favorite of all holidays. Halloween is a great opportunity to act crazy and be someone or something different for the day. Young children and adults always enjoy this holiday in their own special way. However, I am starting to notice a developing trend of teenagers’ either seeing this holiday as “lame” or viewing it as an opportunity to dress provocatively and not be judged for this behavior. There are SO many positive ways to experience and enjoy Halloween, and I feel that teenagers are starting to lose these ideals. All of a sudden they’re “uncool” if they dress up. If this is describing someone in your life, such as a friend, child, or maybe it’s you… Let me remind you of some of the FUN in Halloween.
Halloween presents the opportunity to express yourself and maybe even get “out of your box.” One of your biggest priorities in your teen years is discovering who you are as a person and what types of things you are interested in. When we go to school or out with friends, it can be really daunting to wear something unique. Our peers may judge us, so a lot of young teenagers will wear whatever is popular, whether it’s who they really are or not. But if you want to wear purple hair extensions and be a ROCKSTAR on October 31st, everyone is going to think you look awesome! This is a fun and innocent way for teenagers to try something different and discover what style or personality they truly feel comfortable portraying. You never know until you try!
A party is always a really fun way to get together with both friends and family in a safe environment. In today’s society, teens think that a “party” is only something that involves alcohol and bad choices… I don’t know when this became a so-called fact, but it’s simply not true. Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned Halloween get-together? Get some spiderwebs on your walls, get your most frightening masks and scare your friends! I also think teenagers need to remember that it’s okay to be seen with their parents on holidays. Even though Halloween isn’t normally grouped together with Christmas and Thanksgiving as “Family Time,” some of my favorite memories growing up were dressing up with my family and watching scary movies on Halloween night. Sure, your parents might embarrass you every once in a while, but chances are your friends will think it’s hilarious and want to come back next year. As a parent, I feel that the key is to make sure you give your teens a chance to be creative and *help* them plan the party, if that’s what they choose to do. Teen parties are most successful when the parents invite their friends, the kids invite theirs, and they all spend time together. That way, the teens can go watch a scary movie while the adults socialize, and the younger ones feel that they have a sense of freedom and trust from their parents.
One part of Halloween that is getting more and more overlooked is one of the best parts… the CANDY! Last year there was way too many houses with their lights off all night. If you end up having a get together at your house, make sure you stock up on candy and pass it out to the little ones at your door. As a kid, I distinctly remember competing with my older brother over who got the most candy and laying it all out on the floor in front of me. I was so proud of my candy accomplishments. Even though it may seem like an insignificant act, giving a little kid candy on Halloween will make it a holiday to remember. Think of this as a way of giving back to your community in an easy and fun way. Make sure you get everybody involved! You can even take turns running to the door, so everyone gets a chance to do something kind for someone else.
The alternative to throwing a party, and also my personal favorite part of Halloween, is trick-or-treating! I hear way too many of my peers saying that it’s lame to go trick-or-treating or that they are too old for that. They don’t know what they are missing! Chances are, a lot of thought went into your costume, so why not show it off to as many people as possible? Remind any teenagers in your life that anytime you are surrounded by dear friends and family, anything and everything is fun. Just this past year I went trick-or-treating with my best friends and their family and we had a BLAST. Take note that I did include the family on this one. I know that parents often worry about their kids wanting to trick-or-treat alone or in a small group of friends. Unfortunately, there are many crazy people out there in the world today; I always encourage young tweens and teens to trick-or-treat in large groups and make sure you have adults with you. A good trick is to bring along a young child, if you have one in your family, that way the parents can say they are only there to watch the little one… When really, they’re secretly keeping an eye on those teenagers!
Halloween is such a fun time for all ages. I see a pattern of teenagers’ losing interest and that really scares me. This is one of the best times of the year, and I truly believe that fond memories will be made with wonderful family and friends… Unless you are “too cool” to dress up and have fun, then you will have a very unmemorable night. Just keep in mind that safety is always the number-one priority, especially with young teens. I know that when you’re young it is tempting to go to older drinking parties and take risks on Halloween. That is a fast-track to making some pretty unpleasant memories, and it is simply not worth taking the chance. Encourage your teens and your friends to join together, make a crazy costume, and have a blast! It IS possible to hang out with your parents, have fun, and still be considered “cool” amongst your friends. (I would know, I’ve been doing it for 18 years now). So break out the fake blood, the cobwebs, and the glitter makeup, because Halloween is upon us, and you have a fun, safe, and memorable party or trick-or-treating excursion to plan! BOO!!