Even though its origins lie thousands of years ago in Celtic Ireland, Halloween, as we know it and celebrate it today, is a uniquely American holiday. (Like many things of American origin, like jazz and comic books, we’ve now exported it globally). But depending on one’s age, Halloween can be a very different holiday for you. It means when thing when you’re seven, and quite another when you’re seventy.
No movie reflects the difference in what Halloween means to you depending on your age more than Mike Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat. The horror/comedy anthology, which is finally hitting theaters nationwide this October, captures just what October 31 means to different age groups better than any other film. Here, we detail all the ways Trick ‘r Treat exemplifies what the holiday means for us at different stages in life. If you haven’t seen the film, then be aware, spoilers abound here. (But really, go watch Trick’ Treat).
Halloween as a Young Child: It’s All About the Candy
When you’re a little kid, Halloween night is all about one thing — trick or treating. There’s nothing as cool between the ages of 5 and 12 as getting the freedom to harass your entire neighborhood for candy. We saw this with the characters of Shrader, Macy, Sara, and Chip in the film, who they introduced to us as trick-or-treaters. (These characters later fell into the next category, but we’ll get to that). Of course, the school bus massacre kids represented an even younger group of trick-or-treaters. Ones who will stay at that young age for all eternity.
Halloween as a Preteen: Playing Pranks
When you’re in that middle school/early high school age during October 31, you’re kind of too old for trick or treating, but too young to go out and party. So what do you do? Well, at this insufferable age, it’s all about playing pranks. We saw it with young Charlie, who decides his All Hallows Eve enjoyment will come from knocking over pumpkins. (Others played a more deadly prank on him later). Then the group of kids we met, Shrader, Macy, Sara, and Chip, played a cruel prank on social outcast Rhonda, in order to scare her to death. She ultimately got the last laugh on them though.
Halloween as a Young Adult: Party Time
When you’re a young adult, in your late teens to early 30s, Halloween takes on a whole new meaning for you. It’s now about living that carnival life. Dressing up as something you wish you were (often sexy), and frankly, getting very intoxicated. We saw this with the characters at the beginning of the film, the young married couple Henry and Emma. Henry enjoyed Halloween more than Emma did. Which is why she met such a grisly fate at the hands of Sam. But the werewolf sisters, Maria, Janet, Danielle, and Laurie exemplified adult Halloween best in the film. These lupine ladies really knew a thing or two about partying on Halloween night.
Halloween as a Parent: Teaching Your Kids the Traditions
When you become a parent of a child and they hit the age where Halloween becomes an important part of their lives, the holiday changes for you again. It becomes about sharing the traditions. Passing down what you were taught. Not to mention, helping them make costumes. And of course, carving Jack O’ Lanterns with them, and showing them how do it right. We saw this in the Trick ‘r Treat storyline with Mr. Wilkins and his young son Billy. Although, their father/son traditions were probably a bit more grisly than the ones you remember having with your folks. At least, we sure hope so.
Halloween as an Older Person: Get Off My Lawn
Finally, when you’re a senior citizen, you’ve just about had enough of the ghoulish holiday. You just want to sit and be left alone and watch TV. And preferably not get up every five minutes to get to the door and give candy to strange kids. Brian Cox’s Mr. Kreeg represented this stage in life best. The eternally grouchy neighbor who just wanted people to leave him alone on Halloween night. Maybe if he had been a little more festive and was willing to get into the spirit of things and pass out treats, he wouldn’t have had to face the wrath of Sam on Halloween night. The lesson here: embrace the spirit of the holiday even if you are elderly. It might be better for your health.
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