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Trick-or-Treating should not be age exclusive

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I think 9th grade was around the time most of my classmates traded in full-body superhero costumes and awkward TV cosplays for a headband with some form of pointy ears sticking out of it as a way to claim that their black A-line dress really did make them a cat. Not that I’m shaming it, I, too, have found myself at the mirror in Sephora painting whiskers on with eyeliner for an uncomfortably long period of time because I’m too cheap to buy my own makeup products and I want to look super cute for whatever party I’m planning to visit.

I’ll stop pretending I did anything remotely interesting this weekend. I’ve had 16 other years of Halloween experiences under my belt. For context, I’m from New York, and since we don’t have houses, but apartments instead, in order to trick-or-treat we walk down streets hitting up bodegas, restaurants and grocery stores, so I’m merely empathizing with people who have had the experience of going door-to-door. Despite this, I can assure you that, of the plethora of spooky activities up for grabs, nothing hits home quite like trick-or-treating.

It sounds juvenile, I know, but there’s something innocent and charming about asking the neighbor next door for a handful of sweets. It says a lot about a person, I feel. I could be asking for a dime in the back of an alley, and yet here I stand, on your doorstep, trying to preserve scraps of my youth for as long as I have my 8th-grader-looking face.

“It sounds juvenile, I know, but there’s something innocent and charming about asking the neighbor next door for a handful of sweets.” – Alexia Nizhny ’22

So, although I don’t know what it’s like when old man Smithers give out raisins, I can relate to experiencing the first time your adult neighbors claim you’re too old to be trick-or-treating.

It was so disheartening the first time I heard the hostess of that quirky Italian restaurant tell me the candy was only for the kids. I’d always ached to be a grown-up since I was little, but right then I had to reflect – at what cost was my venture into adulthood?

It was a shame and I walked away wishing I looked younger for the first and only time in my life. This free-candy-giving jubilee shouldn’t be age restrictive because it takes courage to face rejection head-on. But worry not, despite these adults’ efforts, I will refuse to let go of my childhood.

As long as there’s candy to give, I’ll be ready with a bag in my hand and whiskers on my face shouting “Trick-or-treat!”


Alexia Nizhny ’22 (nizhny1@stolaf.edu) is from New York, N.Y. Her major is undecided.