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.