“My parents always played it up. My dad would dress up like a crazy monster and scare us. It was a good scare. We’d do the drive-by trick or treating. Our parents would drive us into neighborhoods,” said Pastecki, who at 31 isn’t ready to part with any of her fun traditions, despite not having a trick-or-treater of her own.
“Halloween now is a celebration all month,” she said. She plans to attend at least four parties and various Halloween-themed events throughout the month. She recently went to a Halloween-themed baby shower, a first for her.
Pastecki isn’t the only adult who enjoys celebrating a day that once had more of a focus on children.
Lindsay Thetford also likes to play up her celebration.
“I grew up in Charleston, (S.C.), and when I was growing up, my parents were really involved in the neighborhood organization. There were a lot of things; there was a Halloween party with a fire truck and parade. There was always something to celebrate,” she said.
Thetford remembers the day being about fun, not about horrors, and she continues to focus her October efforts on fun.
Two of Pastecki’s and Thetford’s favorite aspects of Halloween include decorating and dressing up in costume. Central to Halloween décor is the carving of the jack-o-lantern.
“Each year, we carve a pumpkin and make an event out of it,” said Thetford.
Pastecki often has more than one pumpkin on her front porch, and if she has a friend or relative without a pumpkin, she often shares.
“I put pumpkins out for my friends who don’t have one,” she said.
She may carve one, but since she’s an artist, she also paints some. She often keeps the uncarved pumpkins out through Thanksgiving. One year, she painted a Santa on a pumpkin to make the transition from Halloween to Christmas.
Also vital to Halloween celebrations is the costume, and not just any costume.
Ooollee Bricker, who owns Vintage Ooollee on Broad Street, sees a lot of adults wanting to rent or buy costumes in October.
“They are like full-grown children,” said Bricker, who also gets into the mood by wearing different costumes from her inventory the last two weeks of October.
Not only does she have costumes, but she has makeup, wigs and other accessories to round out the outfit.
Hot costumes for adults always include pirates and superheroes, and she’s seeing a spike in requests for 1920s costumes, which she attributes to the film The Great Gatsby.
Couples costumes are also popular, she said.
Michelle Coyle is joining the number of adults celebrating Halloween with their own events.
Until this year, Coyle planned only for her children’s events. While they will be trick-or-treating and attending festivals, Coyle and her best friend, Amy Shouse, are organizing a grown-up Halloween party, complete with costume contest.
Three of her friends, Shouse, McKynna Underwood and Jennifer Rundel, and Coyle decided to coordinate costumes and will be the four main characters from The Wizard of Oz.
“There will also be various games and just enough fun for hard working adults to kick back and have a great time,” she wrote in a Facebook message.