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Confession: Being A College Woman Made Me Hate Halloween

The spooky holiday is chock full of pressure for girls.

I'm not really one to beat around the bush, so I'm just going to come right out and say it: I. Hate. Halloween.

When I was younger, it meant a bomb night of dressing up in that princess costume that I had been looking forward to wearing for weeks (while fighting my parents on whether I needed a jacket or not) and strategically planning a quest around the neighborhood with my sister. We'd channel our sweetest and cheesiest smiles for the neighbors — as if that was the ticket to getting the most candy — and end the night comparing our plastic, orange jack-o'-lantern buckets, the handles bending from the weight of a month's (week's) worth of KitKats, fun-sized Snickers bars, and Laffy Taffy ropes.

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The older we got, however, the less socially acceptable trick-or-treating (and princess costumes) became. Instead, the spooky holiday became full of haunted houses and scary movie nights with our friends, complete with stuffing our faces with pre-bought bags of candy — all in all, still a good time and still a killer sugar rush.

But college was an entirely different ball game... and a colder one at that. Halloween in college meant either wearing as little clothing as possible while still managing to call it a costume or being so clever in your choice of outfit that you automatically won the approval of any room you walked into — even if they had no idea who you were underneath.

TBH, being a woman on Halloween can be tough. There's a lot of pressure to show just enough skin, but not too much to be ahem ~negatively labeled~, which is another horrible topic for another time. And if you truly want to impress people, you'll master the trifecta of being cute, sexy and clever — spoiler alert: I rarely could grasp even just one of those things let alone all three in one outfit.

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And just to make things even "better," there's the actual night of Halloween to celebrate on, but then there is always Hallo-weekend — i.e. one costume isn't enough, one night out isn't the only celebration and one evening of walking around in the brisk, practically-November weather isn't the end of it. But, you'll always feel like you're missing out on one of the biggest events of the college experience (and all the stories) if you don't go. (FYI, as a bonus: Professors don't change test dates for Halloween. In fact, I'm pretty sure they strategically plan exams for the morning after.)

However, it took three years of being able to practically copy and paste a miserable October 31 on top of itself for me to realize that I was continuously trying to be something I wasn't, and that's where I was going wrong. I didn't want to spend an evening uncomfortable and self-conscious in a costume while I compared myself to every other girl out, and I was done with the pressure of putting together the perfect outfit just to impress others (and pretend to be sexy and cool because LOL). I loved having an extra excuse to spend a night out with my friends, but I was tired of everything that the Halloween-hype seemed to bring along with it.

That following year, instead of putting an anxiety-inducing amount of thought into our plans, one of my best friends and I decided to take charge of the evening. We dressed up as an old, married couple — less than original, but simple, warm and comfortable so a definite win — and went out with the rest of our glammed-up friends (who looked FAB, btw). Instead of spending the night chilled to the bone and worrying about what other people thought of us, we did what we do best: danced terribly and entirely too much.

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Once we let go of what we felt like were supposed to do and instead made the holiday into something that we wanted to do, we had a night that truly became one of my favorite college memories (and lessons).

Don't get me wrong, Halloween still isn't and probably will never be my absolute favorite holiday by any means. I still struggle to find a costume, I would much rather the haunted events occur during the summer months and it would be so freaking fantastic if someone could decide on a single night to celebrate. However, I have also learned that my decisions and my attitudes are my own and that Halloween (and everything in life for that matter!) is what I make of it.

If your heart is happy spending weeks DIY-ing a kickass outfit for All Hallow's Eve (and some serious kudos to you, in that case), then DIY till you drop, girl. If you have a tight, little dress and a pair of sky-high heels that you can't wait to wear out on the town that evening, please don't let anyone at all stand in your way. However, if a perfect Halloween night to you means Netflix and chill(ed wine), then don't feel the least bit elementary for staying in and having some time to yourself. Pretending to be someone you're not (and quite literally, in the costume sense), isn't fun and 10/10, I do not recommend.

Besides, this year marks a certain (fake) older couple's anniversary, so we've got an even bigger reason to celebrate.

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Hannah Marsh

Hannah is a Texas-born, Iowa-raised alumna of Iowa State University. When not writing trending content across several Meredith sites, she enjoys all things fitness-related, binge-watching "Whose Line is it Anyway" episodes and fully embracing her self-diagnosed peanut butter addiction.

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