Art by Ajay Venkatraman

Growing up with Halloween

Elementary School

For the past six years, third grader Justin Xu has selected the coolest Halloween costumes off the hanger at the local stores the weekend before Oct. 31. On Halloween night, he runs out of his house to experience all of the Halloween decorations and the variety of costumes. 

Xu said when he goes trick-or-treating, he sees many trick-or-treaters around his age, and occasionally sees some of his friends from his school, Duveneck Elementary. At his school, Xu said they hold many Halloween-themed events. 

“We are having more and more events at school the closer to Halloween,” Xu said. “We have international potlucks and a Halloween parade.”

When Xu was younger, he said he would go trick-or-treating with his family but in the past couple years, he has trick-or-treated with his friends. 

 

Middle School

Eighth grader River Wu has been trick or treating since kindergarten. She said she would go trick-or-treating because everyone else goes and it is a part of celebrating Halloweens. 

Wu said she noticed older people have been trick-or-treating less. 

“I think some kids my age want to stop trick or treating because they think it’s not mature or they’re too cool for it,” she said. “I find it kind of stupid because it’s fun and fun shouldn’t have age limits.”

Wu also said students her age are in middle school, and that they should enjoy their time more. She said her older sister, April, still trick-or-treats with her friends. 

In the past, Wu said that she donated the candy she got from trick-or-treating to kids in unfortunate situations. 

“My overall trick-or-treating experience has gotten better because I got to trick-or-treat with more people each year and it has been more memorable,” Wu said. 

 

High School

Like Xu, senior Aaron Yuan started trick-or-treating with his family. After third grade however, he began trick-or-treating with his friends. 

“Trick-or-treating with friends is definitely a lot more fun than going with family, especially being able to run to houses and get more candy faster,” Yuan said.  

Yuan said even though he has not gone trick-or-treating in a while, he would be happy if a large group of friends all wanted to go trick-or-treating.

Sophomore Lachlan Kirby has been trick-or-treating since he was 4. Living in an apartment building in New York, he would trick or treat with his family to make sure he was safe wherever he went. 

“When I got older, it was more fun to go with friends because I could be more independent,” Kirby said. 

Kirby said he has also noticed that older students go to Halloween parties.

“I think before COVID, I would see kids my age going out to trick-or-treat, but now that I’m in high school, the number of people my age trick-or-treating will get less and less,” Kirby said. 

Trick-or-treating has been a part of Yuan and Kirby’s pasts, but both of them said they currently do not trick-or-treat.

Yuan said that since middle school, he began attending more Halloween-themed parties with friends instead of trick-or-treating. 

“In sixth grade, I attended a Halloween party with friends where we shot Nerf guns at each other while jumping on a trampoline and we ate a lot of pizza afterwards,” Yuan said.  

Many Paly students including Yuan and Kirby have moved away from the classic trick-or-treating tradition and have been using the time to do other activities, especially with their friends. 

“I would say that my trick or treating experience has gotten better over the years,” Kirby said. “But I’m not going to go this year just out of respect for the younger kids because it’s their turn to have fun.”