Halloween is a national and cultural tradition, candy-filled and fun-themed, celebrated by young children trick-or-treating for candy – and yes, for young adults as well. In college, the act of trick-or-treating is not parallel (in practice) to that of young children. Children leave the house at a specific time, and depending on their ages, they may be accompanied by a parent or guardian. In any case, there is a limit of time in which children are to be out. As they knock on doors for sweet gifts in the dark, their eyes must pay some attention to the hour – as home usually calls for them around 11:00 p.m. or midnight.
As for college or university students, the parental or guardian-driven restrictions disappear. University students, with less probable concentration on time, walk around campus until late night or early morning. This may be a particularly fun night for freshmen – for it is their first time celebrating Halloween in dorms or apartments – and therefore, it is crucial to stay safe, stay surrounded, and enjoy a safe (first, second, or third) Rutgers’ Halloween. Here are some tips of caution and security for those planning to go into costume on campus tonight:
1. If possible, stay in a group of three or more.
Two is better than one – but three is safer than two! Always remain physically close to friends and acquaintances that you may plan to trick-or-treat with. Walk within reach of one another especially in dark areas – and at best, stay close to streetlights, lampposts, and bus stops (remaining in a group).
2. Carry a flashlight.
As silly as this may initially appear (why do I need a flashlight when I am not leaving my dorm housing/when I am certain I will stay in lighted areas?), you never know what to expect on October’s annual night of notorious mischief. A small flashlight – one that can fit in your trick-or-treating bag or costume’s pocket – will work for the night’s event. In the circumstance that you and your friends are lost, or in the event that you may be afraid of a dark area, a handy flashlight will provide a sense of comfort and sight in an unexpected condition.
3. Know your means of transportation.
This may be implied in the planning of this evening’s events, but it creates no harm to make mention of its importance. Know where you and your group will be going tonight (what campuses/streets/buildings?) and how you will be returning home. Before going out, review the RU bus schedules. Research which avenues or streets are safest during specific hours of the night. Most importantly, know who may be able to take you home in a vehicle or walk you back to your dorm/apartment/parking lot. If it is avoidable, do not go home alone, especially past midnight.
4. Leave valuables at home if you only plan to trick-or-treat door to door.
Wallets, car keys, identification cards, credit or debits cards – keep them guarded from becoming lost, dropped, or left in the street by locking them away at home. Unless you plan on going out (to a location where you may need money), it is best to keep these types of personal belongings in a drawer or safe. The only valuables you will need tonight are: your costume; a trick-or-treating bag; a couple of your friends or more; and a positive mood to adventure on through the night.
5. Go home at a reasonable hour. Binge on candy. And yes (if you choose to indulge in your sweets), the morning regret of a sugar-overload is integral to October 31st’s festive fun.
If you have morning classes, you will certainly want to be home before or a little after midnight. Of course, this self-restraint may seem ruinous to the fun – but you will be grateful with saved energy for studies and responsibilities in the morning. In any case, or in any choice you make, feel free to binge on classic candies and unwrapped chocolates before bed. Yes, this may stimulate a morning headache or stomachache – but this celebratory spooky night happens only once per year. Therefore, why not make the most of it by indulging in sugary sweets with friends? Of course, this is optional (especially if you have personal health plans or goals for the month), but note that the presence of Halloween reminds us of our liberating youths: youths without the weight of adult responsibilities, strapped over our two shoulders, in the form of a backpack.
Explore the night and enjoy it. But be cautious: stay with friends; stay out of shadows; know where and how you will be transporting place-to-place; do not bring or lose personal valuables; and most importantly, enjoy your candy and sleep at a rational hour (according to your own Tuesday schedule). But for tonight, be a kid again.