There are many things about childhood that you don't appreciate until you get older; Halloween is one of them.
The first night I stayed costumeless and out of the cold, I was a freshman in high school. I remained in my house baking pumpkin bread with my family. My older brother and I had still made jack-o'-lanterns to set outside on the porch for the few kids in our neighborhood who stopped on our cul-de-sac, but nothing seemed to have the same spooky Halloween magic to it after sixth grade.
I remember relishing going through the Halloween costume catalogs from party stores as a kid looking for ideas on what to be for Halloween. There was no pressure to be "sexy" or particularly innovative with your costume - give me a dress, a pair of wings and a wand and I truly felt like I could be a fairy princess. Now when I think about what I want to wear to Halloween festivities in college, it's all about trying to organize a group costume theme or find something that everyone else will find interesting, funny or attractive.
I also don't have the same sweet tooth anymore. Although this has also greatly advanced my cavity protection, I miss the thrill that came with going through a huge pile of candy after a night of trick-or-treating and organizing it into chocolate, non-chocolate and things I want to give or throw away (I was not a fan of Almond Joys back then.). I still like a good Twix bar when I'm stressed, but now the thought of having a gallon-size ziplock bag full of candy all to myself makes me sick to my stomach.
Hanging out with friends on Halloween is also a different experience. Trick-or-treating gets replaced with hardcore partying or watching scary movies. Personally, I'm not much of a partier, and I couldn't even make it through the first 10 minutes of The Exorcist. I miss the days of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Disney Channel Halloween specials like Twitches.
Carving pumpkins in a residence hall is also a lot trickier. Getting a pumpkin in the first place can be a trick in itself, especially if you don't have a car to drive to the store or nearest pumpkin patch. Then there's having the proper pumpkin-carving tools and having a place to put the pumpkin. You can't put a candle inside when you're done (fire hazard!), and those puny tea lights have nowhere near the same haunting effect. Also, there's no real place to put it - the janitorial staff probably won't appreciate a rotting pumpkin sitting in the hallway outside your door.
Additionally, in contrast to my childhood, I don't find carving a pumpkin fun for the sake of carving a pumpkin: I enjoy scooping out the seeds inside, cleaning them and baking them. It's a Halloween treat I find even better than candy sometimes.
Growing up and maturing is part of life, but there are still moments of nostalgia where I wish I could go back to the fun of being a kid on Halloween night. I would have willingly braved the cold in my princess dress in order to get some candy; now my ideal Halloween night will be staying indoors in my pajamas and watching season two of Stranger Things.