Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Scrooge

We are not doing Halloween this year.

There, I've said it for all to see and now will have to follow through (I'm a brown-noser that way).

When our boys were young, Halloween was a big deal. There were Halloween parties at school, costume parties at the rec center and the annual neighborhood haunted house to visit. We'd put a flying witch on the door, carved pumpkins on the steps and ghosts in the front window. Costumes were different every year and usually made up from whatever was around (no pre-made store-bought stuff).

The number of trick or treaters has been slowly dwindling over the years. Twenty to thirty years ago, we'd get well over one hundred children coming to the door. Sometimes we'd run out of treats and have to recycle some of the candies from our boys when they got home. Ten years ago, we'd still get around eighty to one hundred. Last year, only twelve children came and half of them were neighbours and their friends from across the street. We ended up eating the leftover candies - not such a good thing for the waistline.

It's rather sad, but I understand why parents aren't taking or letting their children out for Halloween any more. In the last decade, there seem to be more reports of tainted treats, random attacks and vandalism (not in our neighborhood, mind you - except for teens smashing pumpkins at the end of the night) - enough to scare any parent of young children. I'm not sure these are so much real threats to the average neighborhood as they are sensationalized, isolated incidents. At any rate, the trend seems to be towards events at shopping centers and malls. Mom and dad dress the tykes up and take them to the nearest mall where the merchants hand out (supposedly) safe treats in a safe, fluorescent environment. Everyone stays clean, warm and dry. No more creepy shadows. No more spooky, strange houses. No more bumps in the night.

We've shelled out treats for Halloween ever since we moved into our first house almost thirty-five years ago. Well, no more. We can't compete with the malls and shopping centers and we don't need leftover candy.

So tonight, we're leaving the front porch light off, ordering take-out and watching the hockey game on TV.

Any ghosts or goblins that might happen to knock on our door will have to float on down the street because we're not answering.


Kay Dennison said...

I missed Halloween for our neighborhood which was last Sunday afternoon. I had made plans to go to a matinee performance of a local theater group and ay $26 a ticket, I wasn't about to miss it.

I think trick or treat in broad daylight smacks of no fun at all. I had bought treats and thought about just leaving them out with a note that read "please take one" but remembered that that doesn't work in my 'hood.

My artist/teacher friend Lynda came by Wednesday and was telling me about what her students' Halloween projects so I went and bagged up the treats and donated them to her classes. She was delighted and so were the kids.

Still, it bugs me that Halloween has changed so much. The kinder, gentler world I grew up in is long gone and I mourn its passing.

kenju said...

Hi, Ell, thanks for the visit and thanks for "following" my blog. We're not handing out treats either because we're going to a party in a bit. Happy Halloween!

TravelinOma said...

We're not handing out treats this year either. Little kids don't come, but young adults seem to. I've decided they're not cute enough for me to go to the effort.

Thanks for your comment about Health Care on my blog. It's funny that the people I know who are against any kind of nationalized health care point to Canada and England as the examples of why it's a disaster. Everyone I've ever talked to from either of those places (and we actually lived in England ourselves for a year) thinks it's great.

Hopefully change is coming next Tuesday!!

Joy said...

I'm a Halloween Scrooge, too. I don't even like it very much. It was sort of fun as a kid because of the candy but not a huge deal.

Now my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because of family being together, no gifts, no decorating, and almost no stress.

Wenda said...

Still lots of kids out collecting treats in my neighbourhood, especially very young children with their parents. I didn't want to have any leftovers, either, though, so the last few kids got heaping handfuls and any stragglers would have found my porch light off.

I usually have a lot of fun getting dressed up and passing out treats, but I found this year's experience a bit anti-climatic. Guess I wasn't in a Halloween mood.