By Ethan Marshall
We’re not even halfway through the month of October, but people are already setting up their Halloween decorations, shopping for candy and picking out their costumes. It’s not just the kids who joyously make preparations for Halloween.
Halloween is no longer just a holiday for children. Some homeowners take pride in having the scariest or most-decorated home in their neighborhood.
Additionally, getting the most trick-or-treaters in their area is viewed as a badge of honor by some people. There may also be some people who go so far as to turn parts of their own homes into haunted house tours.
As for the kids, it’s not just the trick-or-treating that they may be anticipating. The time friends spend traveling around the neighborhood together is a great experience, just as long as they’re not performing illicit activities like egging other peoples’ properties. In fact, for some groups, the fun may begin before trick-or-treating.
For example, my friends and I would play a football game at the neighborhood park before we went trick-or-treating. Some groups of friends may go to one of their homes to spend the rest of the night watching scary movies or playing games with each other, like bobbing for apples. Halloween is a wonderful night to just get together as a group and have fun.
Even teenagers have their own way of enjoying the holiday. Many of these young adults end up attending Halloween costume parties and socializing with their peers. While many of these partygoers may have attended Halloween parties when they were younger, the parties they attend at this age presents more opportunities for meeting someone special.
It’s not just the people who get into Halloween. Some towns on Long Island set up decorations around their local government buildings. Places like White Post Farms in Melville see a lot of business thanks to their pumpkin patches.
Bayville Scream Park is a must-visit destination for those interested in going to haunted houses, especially during the Halloween season. Throughout the month, there are Halloween-themed festivals and fairs that will be occurring or have already happened across Long Island.
Like with the Christmas season, the month of October brings with it TV specials and movies with a Halloween theme. Some TV networks dedicate the whole month to airing scary movies.
While some may view businesses and TV networks as getting into the Halloween spirit, there are bound to be some critics who will say they’re capitalizing on the event to attract more customers or viewers.
While there may be some truth to that notion, the fact of the matter is that the public most looks forward to watching scary movies or buying new Halloween decorations during the month of October, and these businesses and TV networks have been able to appease the masses.
Speaking from personal experience, I loved shopping for Halloween decorations. When I was little, one of my favorite things to do in October was to go shopping for new decorations and to bring out the old ones from the attic. I’d methodically position each decoration on my front yard.
My favorite decorations were three little animatronic barrels, one looking like a jack-o’-lantern, another like a skeleton and the last like Frankenstein’s monster, that would begin singing a Halloween tune with the push of a button attached to them.
There was also a setting where they’d each begin singing whenever someone got close to them. Every Halloween night, I’d turn that setting on, and the barrels would essentially act as a doorbell, letting whoever was home that trick-or-treaters had arrived.
As the years went by, each barrel began to suffer more wear and tear. First, their faces stopped moving when they sang, then the singing became disjointed. Eventually, only one of them continued to sing.
As I have grown older and stopped trick-or-treating, there are still some things that continue to stay the same. I still get all the old Halloween decorations out from the cellar in my current home, spend a couple hours methodically placing them out in front of the house and make sure to bring the little barrels out, setting the working one on automatic so that the next generation of trick-or-treaters can hear the song that resonated with me every Halloween after getting those decorations.
In a symbolic way, the barrels represent my feeling for the holiday. While both the barrels and I have grown too old to enjoy the best parts of it, there’s still a lot of fun to be had every Halloween, regardless of age.