What comes to mind when you hear the word “Halloween?” Do you have flashbacks of Reese’s induced stomach aches, or think of your mom making you wear a coat over your costume? Maybe you remember that one house that always gave out full-size candy bars or had the life-size, talking decorations.
For many, the days surrounding Halloween hold particularly potent childhood memories. Could this be because of the temperature drop, autumn’s last breath of fresh air before a long, laborious winter? Maybe it’s the camaraderie with childhood friends: eating candy until you’re sick, coordinating costumes and being out past your bedtime on a school night nonetheless.
Although Halloween might feel less magical as years go by—as is the case with most holidays—occasional indulgence in nostalgia helps us remember the good in our past.
Third-year Emily Stockman recalls family-oriented traditions, including her nana’s yearly Halloween-themed bingo, complete with pizza, candy and giant prize baskets.
“We’d all go home with probably 20 to 40 dollars, tons of candy, which would drive my mom crazy, and the basket would have so many Halloween decorations,” Stockman said.
Stockman and her sister accumulated these decorations throughout the years and made it a tradition to plaster them around the house each October. She specifically cherishes these memories because of their correlation to her family.
“We always loved it so much because we won it from our Nana,” she said.
Fourth-year Sam Lang recalls her brother crawling at a neighbor while dressed as the character Rigby from “The Regular Show.”
Third-year Jon Genrich had similar experiences, spending one Halloween night scaring pedestrians dressed as the Grim Reaper. Other students, like third-year Fisher Clark, were on the receiving end of these Halloween pranks. He recalls being chased by a woman in a gorilla suit and immediately scolded by her for swearing.
Third-year Mason Soares found cunning ways to make the most of Halloween night.
“A friend and I once got six different costumes and got candy from the same street three times,” he said.
Other Halloween activities were more decoration-oriented. Clark’s family decorated their house yearly to make the trick-or-treaters as frightened as possible.
Some students specifically recall the eerie and unsettling feelings, which seem to increase in severity around Halloween. One October, Stockman stayed the night at her family’s rural, lakeside summer house. She recalls the unnerving silence of the Maine cabin, a change from the bustling commotion prevalent during summer. Stockman shared that Stephen King, who lived near her family’s summer house for some time, included his experiences in that part of the Maine woods in his books “The Mist” and “Firestarter.”
“You can see how Stephen King gets his inspiration for his books from his time at Long Lake,“ she said.
Third-year Sarah Manning remembers trick-or-treating at a house whose owner had forgotten it was Halloween. Scrambling to find something to give the desperate trick-or-treaters, Manning received a questionable rice crispy treat in a Ziploc bag. Spooky, indeed.
Many students who grew up in New England might remember the year a hurricane postponed Halloween.
“I remember freaking out as a kid. I was like, ‘This is, like, an injustice! This is the worst thing ever!’” Stockman recalled.
For many college students now, Halloween traditions take on different forms. Stockman enjoys the little things around the holiday: watching scary movies, apple picking, putting up decorations and baking. This year, she frosted pretzels and topped them with candy corn and M&M’s, sharing them with her friend group while watching a horror movie. Stockman added that the Model UN team, which she is a part of, did a Halloween bake sale this year. They made a variety of Halloween-themed treats.
Students at the university can enjoy Halloween in other ways, too. Some might consider walking under the fall foliage at the Bangor City Forest or trying a pumpkin-flavored drink at Nest coffee shop. Students can also utilize their creativity by picking pumpkins to paint and carve, or design unique costumes.
“I love dressing up,” Stockman said.
Although our trick-or-treating days might be over, new Halloween memories can always be made. Halloween’s ability to hold onto childhood memories is something to be appreciated and celebrated.