Teenagers on Halloween. Close your eyes and what do you see? A totally awesome ragger with loud music and all sorts of wildness going on? Trick or treating? Watching a scary movie with friends? Or is someone sitting in front of his or her computer with a bowl of candy? The media representation loves the first idea of teenagers in revealing costumes doing all sorts of things that are too old for someone who isn’t legally an adult. Is this picture reality though? Do adults really have to lock their doors near the end of October because of the crazy antics young people are up to?
“The media makes it seem like it’s inappropriate for teenagers to go trick or treating because we’re ‘too old’ and then it goes and exaggerates that we go to parties and get drunk when half of us just stay home,” said Ashley Collar, a high school senior, who continued, “And costumes, as we get older, are getting more revealing and it’s harder to find a good ole Mighty Morphing Power Ranger suit at this age. Halloween is supposed to mean haunted houses, scary movies, and candy.”
As children, Halloween meant going out with your parents around the neighborhood in a costume you felt so special in and asking people for candy. Now, as many progress to adulthood, the meaning has changed quite drastically or not at all, as there are still people who choose to spend the night trick or treating with their friends or younger siblings. Everyone celebrates the holiday differently in reality but on TV screens or in movies a very obvious genre is present for teenagers in Halloween films.
In every slasher film there is always the girl you know will die because she’s a little too promiscuous, there’s always the stupid jock that dies trying
to be heroic, and then the final survivor who trips on air when running away in the final scene but still manages to sur- vive in the end. These tropes are very prominent throughout horror movies marketed towards teenagers, depicting teens as stupid and careless.
National and local news alike love stories about how scary teenagers are on the night, how adults need to worry about their house being egged or toilet papered. Yet, how often do they talk about the real danger, cars killing pe- destrians, over teenagers doing some- thing mildly rebellious?
“I’ve never seen a realistic portrayal of teenagers on Halloween. It’s all usually a bunch of kids getting haunted or someone turning into a vampire. Now that I’m older, and ‘costume party’ age, I’m seeing that most costumes for girls are very revealing, including fishnet tights, short skirts, and tight corset-like tops,” said junior, Madison Moore.
“It means seeing who can be the cleverest. Anyone can buy a cliché vampire costume from the store, but it takes skill to come up with a costume that no one else could think of,” Moore added.
Teenage culture is far different than the stereotype that everyone tries to sell to teens. The older kids in school aren’t having dangerous parties; they don’t feel comfortable in costumes that expose a lot of skin, and they want to be able to show off their more creative side on a fun holiday like Halloween. Some people do like Halloween to be on the scary side, with haunted houses, horror movies, and jumping out from behind doors, but that doesn’t mean adults should be expecting dangerous things when a teenager shows up in a Scream costume trick-or-treating.