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Big kids enjoy Halloween, too

On Friday, people across the country will dress up as ghosts, ghouls and goblins and walk around neighborhoods knocking on people’s doors in hopes of being handed some candy.

Wait a minute, that’s when I was a kid.

Sure, many children still enjoy Halloween the way I did, but a lot about the holiday has changed even in the time I’ve participated.

The most obvious change is the choice of costumes. Dress these days isn’t limited to that intended to frighten. There will probably be as many Sarah Palins and Hannah Montanas knocking on your door this year as witches or skeletons. I guess you have to get creative after a while.

Some creativeness is worth special mention. Not many years back, I was a Mormon, and I thought I had the costume of a lifetime. No offense here, it just seemed original. We (yes, there were two of us) had black pants, shoes and a tie over a short-sleeved white button-up shirt. We had backpacks and bicycle helmets and even nametags. Anyway, I was giddy over my own cleverness when we walked down from my third-floor apartment to find exactly what I’d hoped for huddled around a neighbor’s balcony: two bumblebees and a football referee and nothing that came close to what we had pulled off. Until, unbelievably, a perfect Pee Wee Herman came riding by on a bicycle with a horn. And he even had the laugh down. It was, at the same time, the most disappointing and the most brilliant thing I’d ever seen.

That experience highlights two points about the holiday. First, Halloween is a time people do things they wouldn’t do any other time. This probably goes back to the event’s pagan roots and is a reason religious authorities have been slow to embrace the celebration. Second, Halloween is not just for kids any more. I dressed up just last year. I have no desire to this year, but adults of all ages across the country participate in Halloween activities – and not just taking their kids trick-or-treating.