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Why the Movies of Our Childhood Draw Us In Again

The month of October has rolled around again, bringing with it plenty of fun fall connotations–apple picking, pumpkin carving, and most importantly, re-runs of classic Halloween movies from our childhood.

Month-long programs like Freeform’s “31 Nights of Halloween” excite viewers of all ages this time of year, even though the movies shown are largely meant for children. So why is it that so many older viewers love to tune in?

For one, the children’s movies shown include plenty of films that the older demographic grew up on. According to Freeform’s official lineup for this year’s “31 Nights,” the oldest film dates back to the 1970s with “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.” There are also movies as recent as “The Boxtrolls” and “Big Hero 6” featured in the lineup. Networks like Freeform clearly have a strategy on how to draw a larger audience in.

This strategy is certainly one that brings in many Siena students, like Joseph Donahue, ’18. Citing his favorite seasonal movie as “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” he said of the film, “I used to watch all the Charlie Brown movies with my mom when I was younger, but that was always my favorite one.” Of course, many people of all ages grew up with these films; but when it clearly caters to children, why do we keep going back?

“It brings back fond memories,” said Donahue, “I like to think about the old days.” Donahue is one of the many that, as a young adult, feel the need to take life more seriously. While many college students still dress up for Halloween, many of the usual traditions of the holiday like trick-or-treating are put away once we grow out of childhood.

This sentiment is shared by Siena sophomore Haley Shelton. She cites her favorite Halloween film as “Halloweentown,” explaining that watching the Disney special during this time of year helps to “keep that childlike wonder alive, [because] as you get older, Halloween–if you allow it to–can become less fun.”

Halloween can often be considered a children’s holiday. Maybe that’s why people of all ages, especially college-age students, cling to these nostalgic films. It’s one simple and happy memory of our childhoods we don’t want to let go–and maybe we shouldn’t. A day where a person can step into an entirely different identity and eat one too many sweets is something many stressed college students could surely use, so don’t be afraid to lose yourself in your favorite childhood movies this fall.