10 ways that Halloween has changed
Published Friday, October 17, 2014 6:00AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 31, 2014 6:48AM EDT
Halloween these days is probably not the way you remember it as a kid. It's now the biggest day of the year for candy manufacturers and a huge money-maker for retailers. It's also a holiday that purports to be all about the kids but really, let's be honest, it's really for the grown-ups now.
Here are a few ways we've noticed that Halloween has changed:
1. Decor overload
Decorating for Halloween used to mean sticking a pumpkin on the front porch on Oct. 31. Now, it means pulling out several bins of decorations, festooning the porch with fake webs, black lights and dry ice and plugging in massive blow-up spiders on the lawn. Decorating the night before Halloween will no longer do, either. These days, the minute we're done giving thanks at Thanksgiving, it's time to start trying to scare the neighbours.
2. Carving is a competitive sport
If you're still using a kitchen knife to carve out triangle-shaped faces on your pumpkin, you're not even trying. To have a jack-o-lantern you can be proud to show off to the neighbours, you're going to need specialized carving saws, stencils, linoleum cutters, large drill bits... and a good supply of bandages in case your attempt at squash-carving ends in a trip to the emergency room.
3. Orange pumpkins, so passé
Orange pumpkins are nice, but they're kind of dull, aren't they? Martha Stewart may have had a hand in this, but these days, white, dusty blue and very pale orange pumpkins are all the rage. If you can't find anything in your neighbourhood beyond the standard orange, the pinners on Pinterest suggest you break out the spray paint -- or better yet, the sparkle spray, and gild that gourd. Some are now using paint for good, taking part in the Teal Pumpkin Project - the colour of food allergy awareness - and handing out non-food treats instead.
4. Downright-scary decor
Is it just us, or are some people laying on the macabre a bit thick these days? Halloween used to be mostly cute. Now, homeowners are creating veritable haunted houses on their front lawns, with decapitated fake cadavers, and creepy hands reaching out from creepy graves. The animatronic skeletons that wake up and attack the minute you step on the porch can be pretty awesome, but forget about handing out candy to little ones; no kid in their right mind is going anywhere near those porches.
5. Perfect store-bought costumes
Not so long ago, if your mom didn't sew you a Halloween costume, you cobbled it together yourself from an old bed sheet. Or you got one of those awful costumes at the grocery store that were really just a mask and a printed garbage bag. Now, with stores everywhere filled with awesomely intricate and adorable costumes, there's no need to drag out the scissors and fabric. Unless you want to, which brings us to…
6. The ironic adult costume
For many young adults, Halloween means one of the best parties of the year when they get to show off their wit with a homemade, pop-culture-referencing costume. Last year, the twerking Miley Cyrus was popular. This year, it's said to be the Shia LeBoeuf with a paper bag over his head costume, or the Ice Bucket Challenge costume (best of luck putting that one together), or covering yourself in grey paint chips and calling yourself "50 Shades of Grey." Just forget about attempting an amusing Ebola costume. That's just crass crass.
7. The demise of candy cigarettes
When we were kids, boxes of candy cigarettes, little boxes of raisins, and molasses chews (whatever happened to molasses chews?) were standard treats. If you were lucky to trick or treat in a fancy neighbourhood, you might score some mini chocolate bars. Now, chocolate bars are standard, raisins are low-rent and candy cigarettes are candy non grata. Tastes are more upscale now, which means handing out treats isn't cheap anymore. That could be why so many homeowners shut it down after the first bag of candy is gone, turn out the porch lights and call it a night.
8. A full day (or week) of treats
For the kids, the treats don't just start on Halloween night anymore. Thanks once again to Pinterest, there can be a whole week of treats leading up to the big day. Pumpkin-shaped sandwiches and marshmallow ghosts in lunch boxes, cute monster cupcakes at school, mummy-wrapped hot dogs at home for dinner. Cal lit “Halloween creep” but it seems that hauling home a month's worth of candy in a single night just isn't enough these days.
9. Outfits for your furbabies
Halloween these days means involving the family pet -- or more precisely, humiliating the family pet into wearing something ridiculous too. A black cat dressed like Batman? Adorable. A dachshund wearing a hot dog costume? Hi-larious. A Golden Retriever wearing a costume that looks like he actually has little human hands? Genius. With so many pet owners now calling their pets their “furbabies,” pet costumes really were the logical next step in furbaby rearing.
10. Baby costumes
If you're willing to humiliate your dog, surely you can use Junior for a few laughs too. There are now no shortage of teeny tiny costumes that will make wee ones look like real little monkeys or pea pods -- if they'll tolerate wearing them for more than a few minutes. Of course, the costumes aren't for trick-or-treating; they're not even for the babies' sake. They're really for creating hilarious photos to upload to Facebook -- proving yet again that Halloween is really all about the grownups now.