It’s no secret that for most of my life I have been a die hard Halloween enthusiast, and a couple years ago I wrote about the death of trick or treating, but this year I have to say I felt it more than ever. My kids missed Halloween last year because they were sick, and with turning five this year it was the first year for them to get excited about our family’s favorite holiday, but alas this year’s trick or treat was more a trick than a treat.
When I was growing up, this neighborhood was filled with trick or treaters and people handing out candy. Tonight we spanned half a housing track and for every street we hit only two to three houses actually had their lights on. And as it was, for every few houses with lights on at least one of them still wasn’t giving out candy (even if the house was decorated).
Another ugly trend I discovered was that people now drive house to house instead of actually walking the neighborhood. This isn’t people busing their kids in like they used to do when I was growing up, this is literally people driving house to house and then jumping out to run up to someone’s door. What fun is that?
Another trend, which wasn’t as prominent in our neighborhood, but I heard some complaints elsewhere was the complete lack of costume while trick or treating. I understand that these are tough economic times, but even my Pinterest board costume that I made for work today only cost about 99 cents in poster board and about an hour or so of my time. With kids just looking for handouts, its no wonder Halloween is dead and neighborhoods aren’t participating.
America is Afraid
Halloween has always stirred up fear, but sometime after 9/11 I noticed that Halloween seemed to take a sudden dip in participation. Once we felt vulnerable as a nation it seems as though we all became afraid of our neighbors, our neighborhoods and even the towns we call home. A friend of mine summed it up on Facebook tonight when she said, “too many people have fear instilled in them…its a sad thing people don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods.” But what are we afraid of? And if we’re so afraid to participate in this holiday, then where are we spending the reported $8 billion on Halloween? What was the tipping point?
Is it the hype from the news outlets about all the urban myths about razor blades in your candy and the creepers out to harm our kids? Or is it the churches and schools replacing traditional trick or treating with “trunk or treat” (You know…the one where they teach kids its ok to get candy from a stranger’s trunk.) Or has the economic downturn just made it too hard for people to hand out candy the way they did in my youth?
Halloween is clearly still a huge part of our society, but participation is changing drastically. Has Halloween dwindled to nothing more than parties and haunted houses? Will the trick or treating tradition that was such a huge part of my youth become obsolete? It feels as though the desire to trick or treat is still there (the crowds were out), but participation from neighborhoods passing out candy is near non-existent.
What are your thoughts? How was Halloween in your neighborhood this year? Did your neighborhood participate or were houses passing out candy few and far between?