Halloween in the 21st century

Halloween really hasn’t changed much from when I was a kid.  Trick-or-treating still takes precedence over dinner that night, and candy is still strewn all over the living room floor for kids to gloat over, and the tradition of  t-ping is still going strong.  But one thing that I have noticed that is different, is that less kids are going to door-to-door.

I thought maybe the weather had something to do with in past years, but even the nice nights bring fewer trick-or-treaters. I suppose it has something to do with the trunk-or-treats and other alternatives for trick-or-treaters that various groups hold each year.  The local malls also host a similar event.

I remember taking my kids to the mall one year when it was raining.  It was very disappointing.  It seemed like all the stores doled out were mini tootsie rolls.  There was an occasional candy bar, but they were few and far between.  How disappointing.  After some growling and whining on the way home, I promised my children it would never happen again. After all, trick-or-treating was supposed to be fun.  What fun is it to walk around a mall for tootsie rolls?

One year my middle daughter, Caryn, had pneumonia and spent Halloween in the hospital. She was so disappointed that she couldn’t go trick-or-treating but the nurses surprised them by letting them go trick-or-treating around to all the nurses stations.  They went for just a short while and only those kids who weren’t contagious could go.

Though Caryn didn’t feel very well, she wanted to go trick-or-treating and actually did better than her sisters did that night.  It snowed, forcing many of us to cut the trip short.  “Just one more house,” I remember them pleading,  while my hands went numb from the cold.

My mom told me that they didn’t have Halloween in the ’30s and ’40’s like they do now. They dressed up in costumes and played tricks, but they didn’t have trick-or-treating until 1952.  Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, and Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show.  Since then it’s become an American tradition.

Some religions don’t allow their children to celebrate Halloween, which is sad, but it’s their prerogative.  This takes us to a deeper level of discussion about whether it’s right or wrong to expose our children to traditions  that make retailers millions of dollars each year.  But that’s another blog.

Happy Halloween! 🙂

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