I’ve decided that some people are just not really getting the whole idea of Halloween. Or at least, MY idea of what Halloween is or should be. And, since I’m the one writing, it’s my idea that counts here.
Yesterday I had to run to Walmart to pick up some candles for the luminaries I was making out of vintage jars, and was amazed at the number of people crammed into the Halloween aisle there. I’m sure thrift stores were also being slammed… people just wait until the very last minute to pull something together. It seems that there is no embracing of the holiday as a thing to be enjoyed for weeks anymore. The desperation set in, and the rush was on to get the kids done up in something acceptable to send them out to bring candy home for the parents.
That’s right. For the parents. You know as well as I do that when the kids are in bed, mom and dad pull out the candy that they are rationing to their children, and hog a few miniature Twix bars and packages of Skittles.
We live in what I would call a safe neighborhood. Most of the people on our block have been here a while – lots of people in their 60’s and 70’s. The streets are very wide, there’s not a lot of through traffic… we also don’t have a ton of youger kids here. However, on Halloween night the neighborhoods surrounding ours – mostly to the South – send reconnaisance missions down our street and stock up on several weeks’ worth of candy per family. They come by car, van, truck… dad or mom is driving, and follows them down the street with the motor running as a cluster of kids goes from house to house begging for sweets.
Now, I’m all about going to other neighborhoods if yours is not safe, or if there are just hardly any houses around yours. When my girls were small we lived out of town a few miles, and we had one neighbor – my grandmother. We would go to her house to show off our costumes and get pictures made, then we’d head into town to one of the neighborhoods where “coutry kids” would go to have an actual trick-or-treat experience.
But here’s what’s different: I would actually WALK with my children. I didn’t shuttle them from block to block, following them around in my car. I parked. I dressed up even! Halloween was not about taking the kids out to score a bunch of free candy, it was about being creative, giggling and enjoying the compliments of the folks who thought my kids’ costumes were cute, and enjoying my kids’ enjoyment. Just driving around dumping kids off seems a bit like pandering to me. Why not just drop them and tell them you’ll meet them a few streets over in an hour? Most of these kids were old enough to walk alone. Obviously I wouldn’t suggest telling your 4 or 6 year old you’ll see them in an hour.
The prize last night went to the couple who were not dressed up, and were pushing a stroller with a BABY in it from house to house. Seriously. They dressed up their baby, and were taking it around to get candy. Who, exactly, was going to eat that candy?? My girlfriend, Katy, and I speculated that if they came to our house we might not tell them to bug off, but we might give them an apple instead of candy. Or a piece of cheese. Something far less “fun”. So ridiculous.