When I was younger, Halloween seemed a whole lot cooler than it is now.
Back when my only worry was running into my older brother and his friends who were equipped with shaving cream cans and eggs, and we didn’t have to worry about that AND the neighbors putting razor blades in our popcorn balls or candy apples.
Back when my biggest disappointment was having to put on my down coat underneath my ghost costume that I had spent at least ten minutes on since the eye holes were apparently necessary, however much they compromised the costume and missing meeting up with friends.
Back when Unicef was still unquestionably good and all of us struggled blissfully under the growing weight of our candy and the little orange boxes as the night progressed.
Back when pumpkins were all hand carved and not created by following one of the five included patterns. Although, I will admit the little tools are a lot easier to work with than the ten inch butcher’s knife.
Back when we kids owned the neighborhood, even if only for the evening. And we roamed aimlessly, hitting up every lit house for candy and sometimes hopefully knocking even on the dark house’s doors, trying to amass the largest group of people we could as the twilight eased into darkness.
There was one rule. Be home when it got dark … or a little past dark.
Now, my mom says she only needs one bag of candy since she only gets about three trick or treaters. Parents drive their kids from house to house, packing their families into mini-vans until the kids are old enough to go out on their own. And when that is the case, they stay on a few streets that are populated with tons of people. You start trick or treating at 3pm and are done by 6. You don’t trick or treat from people you don’t know and you don’t accept any candy that wasn’t pre-wrapped by Mars, inc. Costumes are mostly store bought from places that specialize in mass marketed outfits that reference a popular TV show or widely recognized icon. I can’t remember the last time I saw a punk rocker, now it’s Hannah Montana, the Backyardigans, Disney.
And because of this mass produced Halloween, how many kids are going to be able to recount the time they went as a mummy, completely wrapped in toilet paper, which seemed like the greatest costume ever until you started dancing, it deteriorated and you were mortified because you hadn’t anticipated that little problem and so didn’t have anything on other than underwear. And yes, that means no bra either which was MORTIFYING in sixth grade.
I get the reasons behind some of the changes – safety being the obvious one due to the creep who hid razor blades in candy apples. But it still makes me a little sad for what was lost. And I plan on making my son wear home-made or pieced together costumes. Because making them is so fun.