I'm a Halloween fan for life. It's usually Nov. 1 when I start planning decorations, baked goods, and costume ideas for the upcoming Halloween. I live for Hocus Pocus, pumpkin spice everything, and day-after-Halloween candy marked down 70 percent. And to this day, I miss all the ways you celebrated Halloween at school in the '90s. After all, my deep-seated love of the holiday all started when I was a youngster, when family, friends, and school made the most of it every year. It was a time when make believe reigned supreme, magic really existed, and teachers knew all the best candy to hand out. (Kit Kat bars and Nerds. Don't argue with me on this.)
While my love of Halloween hasn't waned (not nearly), nothing quite measures up to the spooky traditions of our '90s school experiences. We couldn't wait to show off our costumes, and I distinctly remember the excitement of swapping my Milk Duds (blegh) for my classmate's Skittles (score!). And if Halloween didn't fall on a school night? Look out. That meant a couple extra hours of trick-or-treating, spooky movies, and sugar rushes. Our poor parents.
Don't get me wrong: Halloween as an adult is still the ultimate, and I look forward to it all year.
I bake all kinds of cool treats (read: I bake and burn all kinds of cool treats), carve pumpkins, and boy-oh-boy I can't wait for the trick-or-treaters. But these '90s memories of celebrating Halloween at school cannot be matched.
1. Costume Parades
These days, if we want to show off, we post a selfie on Instagram wearing our new matte lipstick. Back in the '90s, it was as simple as the Halloween costume parades in school. Students would march through the hall as parents and teachers ooo'd and ahhhh'd and snapped photos on their disposable cameras. Anytime someone showed up wearing a similar costume, it was game on. I always felt special because my mom made my costume every year. And let me tell you, there was no cutting corners. I'm the wee one in the middle in the pic above. I believe I was Miss America that year. Note the sash. Have you ever seen a cuter trick-or-treater? (No.)
2. Pizza Parties
We lived for pizza parties in the '90s. This outrageous excitement would fill the air when the delivery guy arrived carrying 10 boxes. And when he had to make two trips to your classroom because he had too much pizza to carry, you knew some amazing ish was about to go down. The sweet, sweet aroma of cheese and grease would fill the air. Your mouth would water like one of Pavlov's dogs. Your teacher would calmly say, "Books away!" And that was it. You'd hit the jackpot.
3. Scary Movies
The only thing that made pizza parties even better was when the teacher turned the lights off, rolled in the TV cart, and popped in a movie. Seriously, could life get any better? There was no happier sound than that of children chomping down on cheesy pizza and laughing at the Oscar-worthy comedy of movies like Casper and Halloweentown. (You can actually go to Halloweentown this year, by the way. For real. You're welcome.)
4. Goodie Bags
No Halloween pizza party was complete without the grand finale: Goodie bags. This was like the Olympics of elementary school holidays. Who'd get the best candy? Who'd get the coolest party favors? My teachers were the shiznit, so they'd always toss cool extras like Halloween stickers, pencils, whistles (a parental favorite), and erasers in our goodie bags. We'd all eagerly dump the contents on our desks and compare who got what. I recall being thrilled with anything that had a Disney princess on it.
5. Halloween Arts And Crafts
Remember all the art projects we made that we were so proud of even though they were probably hideous? Those were the days. You could glue a macaroni noodle on a piece of tissue paper and your parents would swear you were the most gifted student in your entire district. Halloween crafts were the bomb dot com. I remember cutting pumpkins out of construction paper and hanging them around the room, and painting green witches and gluing on googly eyes, using pipe cleaners and popsticle sticks for the broom. We were so talented.
6. Your Teacher Reading Scary Stories And Poems
The Berenstain Bears: Trick or Treat was a personal favorite of mine, but I was also fond of In the Haunted House, any of the Goosebumps books, and Big Pumpkin. Bonus points to the teachers who even did all the voices.
7. In-School Haunted Houses
My elementary school would transform the classrooms into the rooms of a haunted house, and it was epic. My favorite was the music room. Mr. Horn (coolest teacher ever) would give it a complete makeover, with spooky sound effects, freaky lighting, and a fog machine. Black streamers hung from the doorway so you wouldn't know what you were walking into, and he'd dress in a black cloak with a wig. I wish I'd kept in touch with him just so I could tell him how insanely awesome that whole experience was. There was never a dull moment with him!
Images: Disney; Megan Grant/Bustle; Giphy (6)