Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween Is Different

We loaded Braden into his wagon Sunday night and took him on his first full fledged trick or treating adventure. It was also my first trip since I quit asking strangers for candy decades ago. And in that time things have changed dramatically.

In some ways a kid can really benefit. Every church we passed by in the past week had a sign outside advertising a fall festival or a trunk or treat. In our little community there were things scheduled Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We made one of the festivals, but if a person were truly ambitious he could get enough candy to last the entire year.  All you need to do is go church hopping.

Much like a college kids efforts to find companionship and alcohol by going from bar to bar, a small child can seek out copious amounts of sugary goodness from various places of worship. By the end of the night, drunk on candy, the kids would have much the same blank stare and altered mind set as the aforementioned coeds. The day after Halloween hangover can be nasty as well.

With all these new techniques to make Halloween safer for the kids it seems like something has been lost. The feeling of community is gone just a bit. Yes you can go see your church family at the fall festival, but what about the little old lady on the corner or the guy three houses down that mows his yard three times a week? What about your neighbors?

As we went out Sunday night towing Braden behind in his wagon we were met with apathy. Most of the houses on our street were completely dark. Not only did the owners turn off the porch light to keep away little kids, but most of them turned off every light in the house as well. It was like they were huddled in the closet with a flashlight praying that no one would knock on the door. Maybe they were truly scared of Halloween goblins, but more likely they were just being anti-social sticks in the mud.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but this makes me sad. It's sad that we live in a world where people are more concerned about themselves than they are about small children. I have a son that is nearing two years old in a world where his neighbors would rather sit in darkness than give him candy. That is depressing.

Thankfully we found several houses that were open for business. And in this environment I appreciated those people all the more. You might even say they helped restore my faith in humanity. One little old lady was wearing a mask and a witches hat. She also passed out fake bugs in a failed attempt to scare the kids. We need more people like that.

I have never been a Halloween person. I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for that. Kids out there deserve a day when they can get all the candy they want. They deserve to roam the streets dressed as their heroes. They deserve a great Halloween, and it is up to us to make that happen.
  
To those of you who did. Thank you. The rest of you need to get your act together. After all look how happy it made Yoda.

17 comments:

WeaselMomma said...

We have a great neighborhood for trick or treating and one parent always stays home to hand out candy, while the other one walks the neighborhood with the kiddos. I even hand out treats to parents, as do many of the houses here, in the form of Jello shots and cold beer.
Next year you should come here for trick or treat.

Brandy@YDK said...

halloween is one of my fave holidays. i'm excited for next year when we've lived in our neighborhood awhile. and can decorate.

Brandy@YDK said...

oh and braden is one freakin cute yoda

Tim Riley said...

My wife and I have been shocked the last few years by how many people don't participate in Halloween. I agree, there's a breakdown in community spirit that's disheartening as a parent.

PJ Mullen said...

MMM happy he is. :)

Excellent costume. Love the Yoda.

Our neighborhood has a parade for the kids and they just march behind a firetruck and collect candy at different houses right from the curb. Little man had no interest in going door to door for candy, so we only hit up a few homes. Unfortunately, it was like how you described here too.

Eric said...

Tell me he used his Jedi mind trick powers to make people give him more candy...

Brian Miller said...

i hear you...i try to make it fun for my boys and the kids that visit....we do have one street that is really good...and then we had a thing at the schol which was pretty fun..

Father Knows (Travis) Best said...

My wife and I don't celebrate Halloween ourselves, but you gotta at least have a bowl of candy ready for those who do. Who am I to crush some kid's sugar-related dreams?

Keith Wilcox said...

Well Said! When I was a kid our whole neighborhood would go out on Halloween, adults, kids, everyone. Someone, of course, would always be assigned to stay home to hand out candy, but for the most part it was one huge neighborhood party. We have a fantastic neighborhood here in Boulder where we trick or treat, but I know plenty of people who have had similar experiences to yours. It is, indeed, sad.

Manic Mommy said...

I totally agree! Every year, more and more people decorate and every year, we get fewer and fewer trick-or-treaters! I think the Sunday night thing really affected it.

Love your little Yoda!

Old School/New School Mom said...

Yay for little Yoda. Yeah, that sucks about the anti-social "light turner outers." What's up with that? I mean, come on! It takes minimal effort to open your door and put some candy in a child's bag!

BusyDad said...

Your reflections ring true. We put candy out (because we ourselves were out) and only a tiny bit was even taken. Of course, where did we go? The mall... yup. Halloween has now been relegated to the mall. At least we didn't need flashlights? sigh.

Oh, btw, I LOVE your profile pic. Bass fishing is probably my favorite activity in the whole wide world. Too bad it sucks out there in SoCal. Despite all the records being set here, you can't catch a damn thing.

Katherine said...

You're so right, and it is sad. I'm really happy that we were able to find a neighborhood that goes all out for Halloween and even tracks how many kids came by with the hopes of topping the previous year! They even have a parade.

But many of the neighborhoods are like you describe. Dark. Empty. No lights on anywhere.

James (SeattleDad) said...

We have a great neighborhood for it, (lots of kids so tons of houses with candy and decorations)but still there were several houses which were dark and not decorated at all.

Sigh.

Great post and I loved his costume.

James (SeattleDad) said...

We have a great nieghborhood. Lots of kids. Still there were those who didn't bother to decorate.

Love the costume. Happy belated Halloween.

James (SeattleDad) said...

That's where the 1st one went. Please just use it. Thanks man.

KWG said...

We had one big family come by this year. That's all. Most of our neighbors with kids went elsewhere for candy, as did my wife and Bea earlier in the day.

Love his costume! Gotta love generation after generation of Star Wars fans.