If there's one question that I can't answer it's got to be the eternal question of "How old is too old to go trick or treating?" And my inability to answer that question led to me beging really badly burned by some friends of mine my freshman year of high school.
Now, for the record, I went trick or treating until I was a senior in high school. I did tag along with a friend my freshman year of college who was taking one of her little neighbors out, but we mostly hung behind. Despite the fact that I could pass for 15 at that time, I wasn't going to use it to my advantage then, especially since my friend wasn't going to join in.
Even though I went trick or treating those other three years of high school, I kind of lost my enthusiasm and innocence about the tradition. I kind of felt silly and didn't want to really go too far after that freshman year of high school. To be honest, it kind of sucked. I wish I could've been able to really enjoy those last few years, or at the very least found something else to do on Halloween.
I thought I had my plans all laid out that freshman year for Halloween. A few friends that I had made in my classes decided to go Trick or Treating. I was excited because this was the first time I'd go trick or treating with people who weren't my siblings, their friends or my parents.
These were MY friends and MY trick or treating experience. I was going to go to their neighborhood that afternoon, get ready and then go around there to trick or treat. I went away thinking that this Halloween was going to be awesome.
As the afternoon rolled on that Sunday, I was pacing around nervously waiting to get a call from them. They were going to call me to tell me when it was good to come by. As someone who has had a tough time making friends, I felt like this was going to be something new. Something fun.
Yeah, maybe my brother had a point about being too old, but I was 14. It wasn't like I was 19. Besides, is there really a law about when someone should stop going?
So as the hours went by, no call. I figured that maybe they were late to the punch on getting ready. I shrugged it off. Once the sun was setting, I got concerned. I headed to the phone and made the call myself to my friend. She answered the phone and I asked what was going on. She then told me the truth about what was happening that night and it didn't include me.
They were heading off somewhere else. Without me. And yet they couldn't have given me a courtesy call. She told me it happened very last second and she was sorry about it. She didn't want to invite me mostly because it would seem rude if she just randomly brought someone.
I told her I understood, which was only a half-truth, and hung up. From there, I sighed went into my room and started to cry. (Teenage hormones, I tell ya).
I was really upset. I had a hard time making friends that would like me for me and not out of pity or because I had cool older siblings. This seemed like a good group of friends I could've had for myself.
Unfortunately, it didn't pan out that way. They wanted to look more grown up and wanted to do something else, though I was more upset at the fact that they didn't even let me know. They were willing to just let me sit there and be let down as the days went on. If someone is going to reject me, I at least want to know ahead of time. Don't plan on never telling me because that really sucks. Nobody likes that!
As I was crying my mom came in and was angry at those friends of mine. She never liked it when friends would trample over me, which seemed to be a recurring theme at some points. I just muttered about wanting to just stay in my room and start growing up for once.
My mom just shook her head and told me to get my pillow case and costume together because there was no way in hell she wasn't going to let me wallow in my own self-pity for the night. Besides, she needed to take our dogs (at the time) Jasmine and Mavis for a walk.
So I stopped my whining and got decked out and headed out to trick or treat, but man it felt really embarrassing. Imagine a 14-year-old girl dressed as a second rate female Zorro going door to door alone with her mom and two dogs waiting in the background. It was a little south of pathetic, to say the least.
Once I got over my initial embarrassment, I just rolled with it and went to as many houses as I could before my mom got tired of having to restrain Mavis every time another dog tried to come nearby.
If there is a happy ending to this story it has to be my candy haul. Perhaps the idea of someone my age going out alone without any friends made a lot of houses feel bad. And that led to them giving me just a little bit extra candy. It was either that or I just was so quick with each house.
Needless to say, I ended up with a half-full pillowcase of candy. Not a little bucket. A pillowcase. And man did my siblings get a little mad when I came home with all that candy. For all their huffing and puffing about being grown up, they sure were suddenly my best friend when it came to the candy. So I at least had the candy to drown my sorrows in.
That Monday, I headed back into school and my friends came by and were really apologetic. I guess that their other plans had fallen through too. I'm not sure what the plans were, but I assume it was just a Halloween party thrown by some upperclassmen. I think they ended up doing a quick route around their neighborhood after that.
We made up and pretty much went on from there. I even shared some of my candy with them... Well, mostly just the candy I didn't like.
That experience was a bit of a harsh lesson in growing up. Even though I continued to trick or treat (especially since I made a friend who was a year older who still went), it wasn't the same as it was since that day my freshman year. As each year went on from then, I began to wonder if I was too old yet. I guess 17 is a good cutoff age.
This year, I'll likely be handing out candy to the kids and making sure I just so happen to forget to hand out the Almond Joys (my favorites)... except to any kids who are wearing Legend of Korra / Avatar: The Last Airbender related costumes... Or anything that's actually very clever. Those kids get extra!
Anyway, Happy Halloween, and may you all have a great time whether you're trick or treating, going to a party (for a good last second Halloween costume, wear regular clothes and say you're going as a "Nudist on Strike" -- Bonus points if you have a sign with you), driving, or just kicking back relaxing and helping pass out candy.
Want to be e-mailed when Mel has a new column? Click the “keep me posted!” button below.