Arts & Life Editor Allyssia Alleyne muses on the challenges of being an adult trick-or-treater
My name is Allyssia Alleyne, and I am a 20-year-old trick-or-treater.
Even though I have a job and bills, I plan to put together a rad costume and go door-to-door begging for candy with my closest friends and my brothers.
Let me be clear: I do not do this as a sociological experiment, or to shock people or to challenge social norms, and I sincerely hope this is not a manifestation of a latent Peter Pan complex.
For most people, trick-or-treating is like running around without a shirt on: it’s fun while it lasts, but we all stop when we get to a certain age.
But whereas I’ve moved on from sprinting around the park topless, I’ve never felt any desire to stop trick-or-treating. Even though I no longer eat most of the candy (I usually give it away), I’m glad to keep the tradition alive year after year.
But things can get complicated. Take the common introduction, for example. When you’re a kid, “What are you supposed to be?” is one of those questions meant to get kids to say cutesy things in cutesy voices. But by the time you hit 16, people are actually asking for clarification.
Last year, my brother’s friend showed up for the festivities in an oversized black sweater, planning to tell people he was the Unabomber. But when one particularly adorable little girl inquired about his costume when we got to her porch, he was forced to rethink his strategy.
“Little girl,” he said. “I am a hooded man.”
I was in hysterics until she turned the question on me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was dressed as rapper cum sex symbol Nicki Minaj, so I took the coward’s route and said I was a princess.
But my costumes rarely generate as many double-takes as my age. Most older people are bemused when they see me and my cohorts. Sometimes they dole out extra candy and an accompanying wink. In other situations, they just frown and give the bare minimum.
Fellow young adults, on the other hand, seem to go out of their way to make things awkward. There’s never a shortage of scoffing high school seniors or college boys with leering eyes and sexual innuendos.
But regardless of their age, people always seem to wonder, “Aren’t you a little old for this?”
I typically brush it off with some sort of quip about being young at heart, or explain that I’m just sharing the experience with my youngest brother. Both are true, but I can’t deny that I’ve asked the same question of myself. Every year the number of houses I hit seems to get smaller and smaller.
As of now, my tentative end date is whenever my youngest brother grows out of it. After that, I’ll probably focus on getting a good night’s rest, handing out candy to other veteran canvassers or getting smashed in a pair of bunny ears like some of my more mature peers. Last year, my then 17-year-old brother decided to film the whole experience documentary style, which scored him points with the moms.
But until than, I’m happy to go around with my pillowcase and over-the-top costumes, stocking up on Twix Bars and Popeye Sticks.
So if you see me on your doorstep this year (I’ll be a magician or a ‘50s prom queen, depending on my mood), don’t hate. Please, just humour me and give me some fucking candy.