Halloween in America is usually filled with candy, fun and costumes. As a college student, this should continue as part of your routine, if not for fun’s sake then for your health and sanity. As adults, we are told that if we trick-or-treat past 17 we’re “immature,” “candy-stealing” and all sorts of negative terms; in our book, none of those things are true.
Trick-or-treating is a time to dress up and disguise yourself as something or someone else. Most adults dress up as witches, according to statisticbrain.com, with second place being a close call between pirates and vampires. We think you can be more creative, but if not, dress up and have fun anyway.
“As for the trick or treating, or “guising” (from “disguising”), traditions, beginning in the Middle-Ages, children and sometimes poor adults would dress up in the aforementioned costumes and go around door to door during Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. So, go get your costume and well, don’t ask for money per se, but do ask for food and fun.
Trick-or-treating is all about the fun, and we’re encouraging you to do so until your dying breath. Extreme, maybe. But are we serious? Yes. Having fun dressing up, engaging with friends and enjoying a few sweets is just what the stress reliever in you asked for.
A study published in Psychology and Aging in 2015 showed a “direct correlation between chronic feelings of loneliness and large increases in blood pressure over four years.” Basically, you need to go make friends, hang around friends and make meaningful moments with friends while in your four years of college. Hanging out with your friends while dressing up, laughing, having fun and making memories equal a healthier life.
One part of trick-or-treating that is loved by many is the consumption of bite-sized candy, and we agree that this part is important. When hanging out with your friends for Halloween, adding a bit of sweets to the mix can be a worthy bonus for all. Consuming a modest amount of some types of candy, such as cocoa, dark chocolate, and chewing gum, has been associated with positive effects on weight and cardiovascular health, according to the study “Candy Consumption Patterns, Effects on Health, and Behavioral Strategies.” The benefits of cocoa, according to the study, show positive effects on cardiovascular health and healthy blood flow, including to the brain, may also influence cognitive function and mood. The benefits of chewing sugar-free gum, according to the study, is that it “stimulates saliva, which helps to neutralize plaque acids; increase clearance of sugars, acids, and food debris; and re-mineralize tooth enamel.” So while not all candy is beneficial there are enough that can make the night a positive one. So grab some candy, a friend and your costume.
Now some people may wonder… “Why dress up? I can enjoy candy and friends without all the costumes.” True, you can, but it won’t be as beneficial to you. Professor Karen Pine from the University of Hertfordshire said that specific clothing, including even superhero T-shirts, can “make people more confident in all sorts of situations.” Dressing up for Halloween gives you a feeling of being someone or something that is not your normal day. This causes you to not only step out of your normal wardrobe choices but also your normal train of thought. We believe you brain needs this break, this step away from your everyday to help you take care of yourself.
“Putting on different clothes creates different thoughts and mental processes,” Pine said.
Not all of our staff dresses up for and participates in Halloween, but quite a bit do. Either way we want Halloween to be a day to engage in friendship and fun. The most important part is to relax, allow your self time to have fun and not feel guilty about it. Tests will be there tomorrow, you’ve studied enough this week; schoolwork will be there too, it never goes away until you graduate; and you and your friends have busy schedules, enjoy this moment together. We suggest trick-or-treating because it’s fun to do different things that don’t take you too far out of your comfort zone and have added benefits to your health. Go, be free and wear your costume with humor, pride and a cackle (witch style).