halloween

Actual Waunakee Trick-or-Treaters

Almost none of the twenty-odd kids who came to my house in the last two hours showed up without an adult.  Sure, I expect the very youngest kids to be accompanied.  I was visited by a very cute little five-year-old Spidey.  His mom waited down at the end of the driveway (nice, mom!) while he trudged up to the house.  He remembered to say thank you, too.  Most of the kids have good costumes with elaborate wigs and makeup, but their parents are either right there with them, or in the car as they chauffer them from house to house.  I am not kidding! 

Is my memory  of Trick-or-Treat nights in the ’60’s completely an illusion?  I remember dozens of groups of kids running as fast as they could from house to house in order to get as much candy as possible.  I remember very few adults accompanying us.  I remember being admonished, “Watch out for your brother and sisters!”  But we all knew the mission and how to achieve a successful treat night:  Only go to houses with the porch light on, move fast, watch out for the big boys (some were bulllies). Be nice, don’t push, once you got your candy, move out fast.  Cut across the yards!  Drag that big pillowcase until it’s full!

I assume it’s fear that’s driven away the kids — well, driven away the parents.  I’ve learned to buy only a couple of bags of candy, and only candy I don’t like.  I’ve can’t imagine running out, and I know me well enough to know I’ll eat whatever is left over, unless it’s something I don’t like.  No mini-Snickers or Tootsie Rolls at Pat’s house!

Supposedly, Halloween is a huge marketing and revenue event.  I read that it’s adult parties and elaborate costumes that are driving the holiday now.  That’s what I find sad.  Not that adults are having fun, but that they co-opted a great childhood experience with their fears and stifling over-protectiveness, then turned around and had a party for themselves.

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