Jessica McDonald at age 15 poses with her cat at the Zillah Lep-Re-Kon Harvest Foods. She is dressed up as a leopard for Halloween 2017.

When’s the best time to dress up to be just about anything you want, walk out in the cold, and knock on peoples’ doors asking for candy? Why, Halloween of course!

It tends to get cold, so tights and long-sleeve shirts under costumes are always recommended. To prevent getting sick and numb, you should wear gloves and a scarf. Wearing comfortable walking shoes is also a huge bonus because all that walking does add up and makes it a great form of exercise. It’s still a one-time-a-year experience and it’s totally worth it!

M&Ms, Twix, Hershey’s, and Kit Kats. Just a few of my many favorite sweets to munch on when I have a candy craving, which not surprisingly is every day. You could cave in by continuously buying candy every week at the store. Or, hey, get it for free! That’s where Halloween comes into play for me.

When I was younger, I’d go with a group of friends and my mom would be following us in the car. Once our buckets filled up, we’d dump them in our own plastic bags in the car, and head back out walking to reload on candy. Once home, we’d trade the candy we didn’t like. I still remember giving my dad all the Snickers candy bars.

I have been taking advantage of trick-or-treating ever since I was young, and nobody told me there was an age limit, even in high school. So, yes, I did go out my freshman and my sophomore year. I was a unicorn one year and a leopard the next, because those outfits were pajama onesies and allowed me to stay warm. I didn’t even realize Scarywood, the Corn Maze, or Madd Hatter’s Haunt existed at the time, which is what most high schoolers go to now during Halloween if they’re not just watching a scary movie.

I went all around town trick-or-treating and, let me tell you, that was quite an experience. I got strange looks from a few kids from my class who were just walking their younger relatives.

But, it’s free candy plus exercise from walking for hours. Also, since I’m older than the little kids, I can run faster to ring the doorbells before they do. And, my hand doesn’t get tired as fast from the weight of the candy.

Even as a 17-year old high school senior, right after running the Oct. 31 cross-country 1A district meet at Apple Ridge, I will go back home and go knock myself out with walking around Zillah with my mom. And, with enough confidence, it won’t matter what others think of me. I’m still a kid, a teenager, and I’m still having fun!

Well, now you know my plans for this upcoming Halloween ... and anyone else who is in high school can do it, too. Be safe trick-or-treating!

Jessica McDonald is a senior at Zillah High School.