Halloween and aging: How I lost and recaptured the spooky season spirit

The photo (left) shows features reporter Taylor Metcalf dressed as a dalmatian with her father and sisters at less than one month old. The photo (right) shows Metcalf at 20 years old.

Taylor Metcalf

The earliest memory I have of Halloween is dressing up as a University of Kentucky cheerleader. Though this is the first costume I remember distinctly, boy — did I wear some weird things for Halloween as a kid.

I’ve been everything from a dalmatian to Winnie the Pooh dressed up as a honey bee to even Pooh’s “Hunny” pot.

But as I got older, I fell in love with the act of coming up with ideas for possible outfits. And when buying a costume every year became pricey, I usually dragged my parents into helping me whip one up at home.

My costumes ranged from a pumpkin to an acorn complete with stuffed squirrels. But my family’s favorite was when I dressed up as my dad — goatee, mustache and bald cap included.

When Halloween finally rolled around, I would pull on my costume and make my rounds around town. I would walk the sidewalks with eyes peeled for houses with the porch lights on, hoping someone would give me something good — anything but candy corn.

At the end of the day, my sisters and I would all sit on the living room floor and dump out our buckets and bags. We would exchange candy we didn’t like and try to sneak pieces from other piles. It was a simple thing I’ve forgotten over the years.

But as I think back on it, I wish I could go back.

Somewhere along the way, I lost that Halloween excitement. I didn’t really enjoy going out trick-or-treating, and making my costume just felt like a chore. Maybe it was the fact I was getting older, but all I wanted to do was hang out with friends and watch scary movies while we ate junk food.

Now an adult at 20 years old, the only thing really left for Halloween is parties, which aren’t really my style. I would still rather be with a few friends watching movies and eating too much sugar. 

Looking back, I wish I had taken more years to just be a kid and enjoy the festivities while I could. Now I see my little brother dressing up each year and can’t help but be a little jealous of how cool costumes are these days.

But being able to look back on my own memories and seeing how excited those around me are for Halloween is more than enough. The Halloween spirit slowly seeps into me when I see people my age dressing up and having fun.

That’s what makes Halloween worth it.

Features reporter Taylor Metcalf can be reached at [email protected].