Am I the only one who has noticed the end of Halloween?
When I was a kid, we’d all go out into the neighborhood, ON Halloween night, dressed in our hobo Indian princess pirate get-ups, knocking door to door and hoping we didn’t get kidnapped. Our food was either x-rayed by the local hospital (for fear of razors), or we threw caution to the wind and ate as much of it on the way home as possible so that we could avoid the ‘mom tax’.
You remember the ‘mom tax’, right? The amount mom charges for having to look for suspicious looking candy in your bag. Also, the houses were scary. Not all of them, but there was always that one neighbor who went over the top to try to scare the bejeezus out of us kids. And walking up to that door was a test of wills. If you made it, you survived, you got the good candy. If you ignored that house, everyone in school knew. I miss Halloween. I don’t know if it even exists anymore…
Halloween Was So Much More Fun When I Was A Kid
A big part of me thinks Halloween is just dead. I’m not sure it will ever come back to its former glory, or if we even live in a world where that is possible anymore. Now, kids don’t go to “Halloween Parties”, they go to “Fall Festivals”…and those festivals are all held ON Halloween night.
So the scary houses where people used to hand out the good candy don’t even bother anymore. Last year, despite the bloody handprints on my front door, and the gorified stuffed animals lining my front walkway, we had two trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. That was it. The rest of the street was blacked out, and kids either went to their church Fall Festivals, or something at school, or Trunk-Or-Treat, but none of them came to my house. What’s the point anymore?
What’s the point in decorating if you know kids aren’t coming? What’s the point in buying the good candy if all that’s going to happen is you’ll end up having to eat it during the weeks following Halloween. There’s no use in hanging spider webs, because there won’t be kids out to get tangled up in them. No use in dressing like a scarecrow and sitting still on your front porch, because there’s no one out there to grab and scare anymore.
And those few neighbors who do put in the effort? Now they’re likely to be harassed for it. Last year, Vicki Barrett of Parma, Ohio, was told that her decorations were so scary that the neighbors wanted her to take them down. When the neighbors learned that there was nothing illegal in Vicki’s decorations, they continued to harass Barrett and her family until they took down the decorations out of fear for her and her family’s safety.
How is that okay?
Now Halloween is so sanitized that I’m not sure we can even call it Halloween anymore. Gone are the good decorations, and candy. They’ve been replaced by safe church community rooms and elementary school gymnasiums. Now kids no longer have to face their fears to walk up to the scary house to get candy, they just go to the second grade teacher (who is dressed like a not-scary-at-all witch) and say, “Trick Or Treat!” and boom, candy. No tricks. Not even the fear of tricks.
Are we all so protective of our kids that we can’t let them experience any sanctioned scares anymore? Yes, the world we live in is a scary place, but in a time like this shouldn’t Halloween become the most important night of the year? It’s the night for kids to face those fears. The night where they can go up to that scary door and say, “You know what, world? I’m scared out of my wits but I’m going to face it.” It’s the one night where kids get to experience fear in the safe environment of their neighborhood, and are rewarded by candy for their effort. But all that is gone.
Can we even call it Halloween anymore if all that’s left are the treats?