What to Do When Dressing Up Isn’t Fun Anymore (and Other Thoughts on TOTS)


Adam Bear, News Editor

On Friday, October 29, Ward Melville held its annual Trick-or-Treat Street. For most Ward Melville students, however, the event begins around late September, when their club presidents begin yelling at them about the event. First, it’s about choosing a theme. Then, it’s preparing decorations. Finally, by the last week in October, the yelling is regarding shift signups. This, I imagine, is the most difficult stage: actually getting club members to work the event. After all, who wants to spend their Friday evening standing in the cold, handing out candy?

This year, the event was held outside to try and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Each club was given an exterior door to decorate. In the front of the building, Tri-M Music Honor Society organized an orchestra, which played music from Phantom of the Opera and selections from the Harry Potter movies. Inside the building, the Ward Melville Players held their annual haunted house, which was Alice in Wonderland themed. Around the rest of the building, clubs had doors decorated with themes ranging from Luigi’s Mansion to seminal modern Feminists. 

In attendance were children–usually dressed as superheroes, witches, fairies, etc.–who were, hopefully, delighted by the candy and decorations, and spooked by the music and haunted house. Another group was present at the event: Ward Melville students who didn’t sign up for any club shifts. Usually coming in groups of three or four, these people walked around aimlessly, greeting their friends occasionally and collecting candy from anyone who would give it to them. 

For many of these drifters, this event may be crucial in their realization that Halloween will never be the same as when they were kids. To a child, Halloween is a day of unparalleled joy. To a teenager, however, something disappears. The costume, once a rare chance to be someone else for a day, is now just a polyester suit. The set, once invoking both terror and delight, is now just flimsy plastic.

With this realization, however, comes another: the revelation that it is now one’s duty to preserve that magic for the children. This, I believe, is the ethos of Trick-or-Treat Street: at a time when Halloween begins to lose its magic, Trick-or-Treat Street is a place where students can pass that joy along, and in doing so derive joy themselves.