A childhood Halloween goes to college
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
“Trick or treat, smell my feet; give me something good to eat. If you don’t, I don’t care; I’ll pull down your underwear.”
I was raised in a religious Jewish home. I attended an all-girls private school, where I drowned in a skirt that went to the ground and a buttoned-up-to-the-neck shirt.
I rocked the Amish look.
My parents tried to keep me from straying from my Jewish path. I keep kosher both inside and outside the house, I spin the dreidel on Hannukah and I dip the apple in honey on Rosh Hashanah. I light candles on Shabbat.
So you must understand their dismay when I transferred to a public elementary school and came home one day in October singing, “trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.”
Halloween is not a Jewish holiday. Candy means cavities, tummy aches, high cholesterol and a sugar rush. Dressing up is meant for the Jewish holiday of Purim (and only Purim).
Even when my mom did dress me up for Purim, she never let me be anything cool. While everyone else got to be a princess or ballerina, I got to be a clown.
When I learned all my new public school friends would be dressing up in cool costumes and knocking on doors waiting to receive candy, the stubborn, friend-absorbed, curious fifth grader in me decided to ignore my parents’ demands.
I went trick or treating for the first time as an 11-year-old. I dressed as a “Hollister princess” – I’ll pause so you can laugh. I wore a Hollister polo shirt with a Hollister skirt and a crown from Claire’s. I may have also bought the perfume for additional effect.
I discovered the world of running away from immature boys who throw eggs at the girls they like and cover those girls’ houses in toilet paper. I felt that rush of excitement when people who weren’t home for Halloween left buckets of candy outside their doorstep, giving my friends and me a free-for-all as we grabbed handfuls of our favorite sweets.
I felt like the coolest child on the planet. It’s safe to say I was deprived of a normal childhood and that night in October changed my reality.
To my surprise, I felt the same alteration of reality when that day in October rolled around my freshman year of college.
Rather than becoming excited about the endless amounts of candy and the fun rhymes that come along with ringing doorbells, I was thrown into a less innocent type of world. Once again, I felt naïve.
“If you don’t, I don’t care; I’ll pull down your underwear.” This portion of the rhyme has a different meaning in college. It’s no longer a threat to people who don’t give out candy. Instead, it seems more like a positive slogan.
“You’ll pull down my underwear? Promise?” That’s what I assume people are wondering based on the costumes I usually see.
Dressing in little-to-no clothing was the new cool way to spend Halloween, I discovered. So one night I dressed as Amy Winehouse, wearing a corset and leather pants. The second night celebrating Halloween, I was a zebra (because all zebras wear fishnets, leather skirts and tank tops with holes in them, right?). The final night, I went for some hippie look, basically rocking a tie-dye bra, flowery skirt and large headband.
To all you freshmen who have prepared your costumes and are wearing less than you do in the shower, congratulations: you’ve let college Halloween get the best of you. In a couple of years, you may laugh at how naked you “dressed.” It’s OK, though, because it happens to the best of us.
Sophomore year, I did a total 180 and dressed in something completely opposite from the half-naked freshman Keren. I was Stuart from Mad TV – wearing a onesie and a wig, walking cross-eyed all night – and I emphasized being different and steering away from the slutty costumes that many college girls wear.
Now that I’m a junior, I’ve found the perfect balance. I understand it is acceptable to be promiscuous on a college Halloween and wearing a bra in public may never be socially acceptable otherwise. I also value the humorous friendship aspect of Halloween that I appreciated so greatly when I first discovered the holiday as a fifth grader.
Halloween teaches me a new lesson every few years. I’ve experienced the sugar rush as I rang doorbells and sang rhymes with my best friends, and I’ve felt the sexiness of being someone other than myself – someone more naked than my usual self. I’ve also worn the wacky and totally foolish costume that made everyone chuckle a little but guaranteed no boy would come within five feet of me.
This year, my childhood Halloween is going college. My four best friends and I are coordinating costumes, combining my 11-year-old attitude with my Amy Winehouse impression.
Tune in to my Instagram (kerenbee) or Facebook to find out what I’m being this weekend and email your costume ideas or Halloween epiphanies. I’d love to hear from you!