Halloween starts now

College students have many different options to celebrate Halloween this month.

by Erin Lengas

ThereâÄôs nothing I like more than a good scare. So assuming I have always loved Halloween would be a safe bet, right? Wrong. Of course, as a kid I loved the free candy, but the idea of Halloween always seemed silly to me.

However, Halloween has an entirely different meaning to college students. Last year, as a freshman, I was completely unprepared for the significance of Halloween weekend. I did not give my costume much thought, and I definitely did not realize that I needed a different costume for each night of the weekend.

It wasnâÄôt until recently, when I became aware of all the activities that come along with this time of year, and the fun in creating a unique costume, that I began to embrace the holiday.

The University of Minnesota campus started to demonstrate the Halloween spirit last weekend with the infamous Zombie Pub Crawl. Although I unfortunately could not legally participate, watching the zombie brides, cheerleaders and sailors haunt Dinkytown definitely helped get me excited for Halloween.

I realized last year that planning early for Halloween costumes is a necessity. Some people take their spooky ensembles much more seriously than others, but everyone should strive for a creative costume. Try something clever âÄî my favorite costume last year was âÄúFloâÄù from the Progressive Insurance commercials.

Girls: In my opinion, in-your-face sexy getups are out. Females tend to overuse the sexy nurse, police officer and referee. Challenge yourselves. Try to think of something a little more original and a little less suggestive. If you really want to run around scantily clad on a cool October night, you have other options âÄî Halloween is a time for creativity. You can score great finds at local vintage stores.

This may come as a surprise to some students, but there is also much more to do on Halloween than go out and party. The Twin Cities provides so much eerie entertainment to take part in, like haunted houses, hay rides and pumpkin patches. These activities are fun to visit with friends or great for a spooky date.

During the month of October, the usually family friendly amusement park Valley Fair transforms into Valley Scare. With indoor and outdoor mazes, sinister shows and scare zones named âÄúBlood Creek CemeteryâÄù and âÄúFestival of Freaks,âÄù Valley Scare serves as the perfect destination for a night of Halloween fun.

Closer to campus, the Mill City Museum downtown hosts âÄúThe Minneapolis Horror: Tales from the Night ShiftâÄù near the end of October.

This year, I have entertained myself by decorating my apartment to truly get in the Halloween mood. I picked up miniature pumpkins at the Mill City Farmers Market that sit on my table and hung pumpkin string lights in my window. As small as these touches are, when I look at them I feel festive and my mood instantly elevates.

My favorite thing about this time of year, though, is that I have an excuse to constantly refill my candy dish. I usually donâÄôt keep sweets in my apartment âÄî that way, I never actually have to exercise self control. For some reason, though, I think of Halloween candy as absolutely permissible, like it doesnâÄôt count, and I go all out.

Halloween means so much more now than it ever did before. To me, the end of October used to mean celebrating the beauty of autumn, watching the World Series and saying goodbye to the final days before winter hits. Now, I look forward to costume parties, decorating, pumpkin carving and, of course, some Halloween candy.


Erin Lengas welcomes comments at [email protected]