My daughter, a writer in her own right, told me about the surprising response she got from her friends when she decided not to go trick-or-treating. I asked her to write about Halloween Peer Pressure. Here are her thoughts:

trick or treat halloween peer pressure

Recently I reached a milestone in my life. I have finally transferred over from the horrid waiting room of middle school into the vast openness of high school. As we all know with milestones there are changes that have to be made and/or met. There’s the obvious stuff, like having to get up earlier then the sun and learn to navigate through a building with two-stories instead of one. Then there are other things, more personal things, that change as I come of age. For example, this is the time of year when little children dress up as ghosts, witches, and wizards and run up to houses and scream those three famous words:

Halloween Peer Pressure

Let’s be honest here for a second, when little kids run up to your door dressed up as pirates, cats, and anything else they can imagine, face paint smeared all over their faces and a small plastic Jack-o-Lantern in their hands, it’s pretty darn cute! So, obviously, you can’t help but give them a handful of candy.

On the other hand, when a teenage boy of about sixteen years waltzes up to your door in some baggy jeans, a sweatshirt, face paint was thrown on for good measure, with a pillowcase in his hands… it’s not so cute. In fact, it’s actually kind of creepy. Not to say that all teenagers just use Halloween as a ploy to get free stuff. There is just something wrong about a sixteen-year-old, and possibly older, showing up at your front door asking for candy.

This year seeing as I am a freshman in high school, four years away from graduation and then college, I automatically made the decision not to go trick-or-treating. I just felt too old. From my personal experiences with Halloween, moving between houses and passing by older kids with my small set of friends, I myself felt a sense of danger and discomfort. Also, I based my decision on the stories that my mother had told me about her encounters with older high school students showing up on Halloween, usually in large herds, at our doorstep and how uncomfortable it made her. I knew that I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable this year just because I wanted candy. So I decided: No trick-or-treating.

Simple enough right?

It seemed that way at first. My parents agreed with me when I told them that I didn’t want to go trick-or-treating and that I would be perfectly content with just heading to the grocery store and grabbing a small bag of assorted candies for myself. Even my older brother supported me in my decision to skip out on the tradition. So, yeah, I was off to a good start. I decided all my own and my family was behind me… but then I went to school.

 Cue the Halloween peer pressure, On numerous occasions, I was asked by friends “What are you going to be for Halloween?” to which I would simply reply that I wasn’t going trick-or-treating this year. Cue gasp and response of shock. I explained that I simply thought that I was too old and didn’t feel all that comfortable with it. To which they would respond by saying something like “You get free candy!” I would always conclude the conversation by shrugging it off, because obviously, they didn’t understand, leaving me standing there feeling uncomfortable, unsure of myself, and slightly annoyed.

 Then the topic of my not-going-trick-or-treating decision came up at my lunch table. Fantastic! Not. It was horrible! I hated it. My friends freaked out left and right saying things like “How can you not be trick-or-treating?” and “It’s a part of your childhood. You’re gonna miss out.” I was flabbergasted and really, really irritated! I didn’t like it at all that this huge thing was developing over a tiny decision that I made. It was my decision – not theirs! They have no say in the matter; it’s simply my choice. I also didn’t like how what they said made me doubt myself and made me feel basically like shit (excuse me!) and I even told them so! Some of them even waved things in front of my face to get me to go trick-or-treating. For example, one of my friends was going with a group, which included a few hot guys, and they could bring a friend with them and they would invite me but I’m not going trick-or-treating. Man, was I ready to scream!!!

Although walking around with my friend and cute boys was tempting I still didn’t feel comfortable. Even though my friends protested my decision and probably still do, I stand by it 100 percent, because really, life is not about satisfying others. It’s about satisfying yourself and feeling comfortable enough with yourself to stand by your decisions and the things that help build who you are, whether that’s not going trick-or-treating, your freakish obsession with musicals, or your massive pile of Beanie Babies that no one really knows about.

           This is my story… what’s yours?   

Sofia Aletta is a Master of Anthropology, living the dream in Buffalo, NY. Outside of researching mortuary practices, human skeletal biology, and criminal justice procedures, she enjoys learning about all aspects of life. When she isn’t in the lab or the library, she can be found listening to true crime podcasts, taking photographs, and painting postcards for her family and friends. If you can’t find her, she is probably camping and will get back to your last email as soon as she gets back!

written by Sofia Aletta