Halloween Bully

Halloween can be one of those holidays that promotes bullying.  And one night in my sophomore year of highschool, I’m sorry to say I fell into that trap…

It all started with the simple desire to do something fun for Halloween with friends.  As young teens we were too old for the “treating” part of trick-or-treating (no one was going to give candy to a group of 15yr olds going door-to-door), and yet too young to have a party, aching for some other way to celebrate this fun holiday.  Stuck in that space between childhood and adulthood, where rational thought often morphs into crazy ideas of how to flex one’s “maturity” there were few options that we could see that would satisfy the longing for an “amazing experience.”  But my friend Renee (name changed to protect the guilty) came up with a “brilliant beyond brilliant idea.”  So a group of us agreed to meet at her house that evening to change into our costumes (because we HAD to dress up in something provocative as well) and she would divulge the plan.  As we donned our skimpy clothing items stolen from parents closets & dressers, Renee began explaining.

Naturally, looking back, it was anything but brilliant.  But at 15 yrs old, it seemed inspired!  Unfortunately, as often happens with teens, the plan focused on the “trick” tradition of this holiday, not considering anyone else in the process.  We would have the older brother of one of our friends drive us around the “fancy” neighborhood (very rich area where every mansion was gated) and prank the occupants.  The pranks were somewhat small potatoes–ringing door bells and running, toilet paper in the trees, foul smelling bags on front porches, and egging garage doors.  So, that’s what we did… we felt  wild, dangerous, mature (if you can imagine!) taking our fate into our own hands. “Sticking it to the richies” who never handed out candy.  But after a while things took an even more devious turn. Renee decided that these simple acts were not enough.  SHE wanted to target a young man’s house that she knew (whom of course she had had a crush on for years, and whom did not return the sentiment, in fact he made fun of her constantly. Perhaps this had been her real plan all along.)  As we approached his home, I grew increasingly anxious.  I knew something bad was about to happen and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be a part of it….but it was too late.  I was in the car, I was partaking in this act, whether I liked it or not.  We approached the house, creeping the car along the giant hedges that hid most of the building from view.  Renee pulled herself halfway out of the passenger car window, and hurled one egg after another over the hedge… We heard the splat, as each egg one by one hit on top of the boy’s (and his parents’) beautiful, expensive cars!!!   I was terrified!  Egg yolk will take car paint right off!  I hadn’t wanted to destroy property, just make a statement!  Toilet paper in trees was no big deal.  Garage doors could be washed and repainted easily, and cheaply.  But, a Bentley?  A Mercedes?  These could not be so easily fixed!  Renee screamed and laughed wildly as the driver peeled out of the neighborhood.  I sat there stunned! I had just become an accomplice to an ACTUAL CRIME.  As we sped off, everyone was laughing.  I smiled too, to hide my fear; inside I was full of conflicting emotions.  I had just spent the evening bullying total strangers, for fun!  Why?  At the time, we didn’t consider these pranks a form of bullying, but that’s exactly what they were.

The thing about bullying behavior is that it can sneak up on you, and before you know it you’ve engaged in it.  It can start small, menial—a silent judgment of someone else, a smile or snort at someone’s expense – and then can grow into following the crowd towards harmful actions.   Against all your better judgments, you end up doing something horrible.  This is how I became a Halloween bully.

Nooriel Nolan works as Registration & Administrative Coordinator and Committee Liaison for the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, but her true passions are writing and positively impacting the lives of children.  She is particularly passionate about girls/womens’ issues, which drove her to seek her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Florida (a focus that provided her the opportunity to study gender and how societies produce gendered expectations of children.) In her spare time, Nooriel enjoys running and spending quality time with her husband and 11 year-old stepson.