Depending on your sensibilities, technology has either made Halloween less stressful, or more stressful than ever.
Whether we’re talking costumes, decorating your house, carving pumpkins and trick or treating, technology has changed almost every aspect of Halloween. What was once such a simple night is simple no more.
These days it can feel like there’s no excuse for not pulling together unbelievable and creative costumes for our kids. Type ‘Halloween Costumes’ into Google and you get more than 6 million hits. Costume ideas on the internet can be overwhelming at best.
But we need that massive pool of ideas, because thanks to technology—especially smart phones—parents take numerous photos of their children to post on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, just like they do on the first day of school.
Costumes need to be buzz-worthy and photo-worthy, unlike when we were kids and only a couple photos were taken of us (and ended up nowhere, except maybe in the family photo album). Pre-teens too, whether heading out to trick or treat or to a party, are also posting dozens of photos of themselves dressed up with their friends. If you thought Kim Kardashian took a lot of selfies, you should check out a pre-tween on Halloween.
So, yes, technology has put pressure on parents (and children) to either create or buy (thanks to e-mail blasts and Facebook postings, we also know where ‘pop-up’ costume stores are—another new Halloween phenomenon). It’s also made it easier. We can now sit back, scroll down, and order costumes online at any time in the weeks leading up to Halloween. We don’t even have to leave our homes.
Oh, and if you check out YouTube, there are thousands and thousands of Halloween makeup tutorials—from cat faces or fish scales to full-on gore with fake blood. The Internet has turned all of us into horror movie makeup artists, or at least that’s how we feel every October.
The same holds true for decorating pumpkins. Thanks to Pinterest and the internet and YouTube, a pumpkin with two triangle eyes, a triangle nose, and a snaggletooth smile now seems boring and hardly Insta-worthy. Internet tutorials have turned pumpkin carving into a competitive sport, and we can all learn how to make intricate carvings from pumpkin artists online (who probably moonlight as tattoo artists). Pumpkins are now carved and painted with as much thought and effort as decorating a Christmas tree.
Halloween has also changed the way children trick or treat as well. The proliferation of cell phones means that many older kids have convinced their parents that they are perfectly capable of going out trick or treating without parental guidance (otherwise known as us standing on the street while our children walk up ringing door bells.)
Promises are made that they will text or call, and will always, always pick up our calls or return our texts immediately, so we know exactly what street they are on at any given time. There are even tracking devices we can place on their phones if we want to. We’re not calling in the drones just yet….but we bet that by 2025, watchful drones will be taking over the skies on Halloween.)
Older kids, who have their own phones, have become, let’s say, very crafty in the way they trick or treat.
I was shocked last year, when after I handed out about 10 candies per child (my street is pretty quiet on Halloween), I saw and overheard an older boy on his phone telling his friends ‘You’ve got to come by this house! They’re giving out a lot of candy!’ Within a half an hour, my usually quiet-on-Halloween street was packed with numerous kids, definitely friends with this kid (who came back for a second round). The kids had spread the word quicker than it took for me to have a bathroom break.
The final way we see technology changing Halloween? Many hot costumes this year are technology based. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of emojis show up at your door! (To think that a few years ago we didn’t even know what an emoji was!) THAT’S how much technology has changed Halloween. We just hope that, ‘Trick or treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat!’ will always stay the same. It’s a classic.