Trick-or-treating sure has changed since we were young. On Halloween night after my parents tried unsuccessfully to get us to eat dinner, I’d get dressed in my costume, then my friends and I would grab our pillow cases and head out around our own neighborhood until the bag was too heavy to carry. We would return home in the dark, dump our loot on the floor, and proceed to count and compare, separating the good from the bad. All while our parents sat on the front lawn with neighbor friends drinking wine and handing out candy to other kids. It was great, and nobody ever got hurt.
Now we hear about all these alternatives to trick-or-treating, such as events that groups and churches put together — they are more like fairs than anything else — with games, bouncy houses, and rows of candy booths to “trick-or-treat” from. They have this thing called “trunk-or-treating” in parking lots, in daylight, where you get candy from a row of decorated cars. Indoor shopping malls host tricks-or-treats; all organized and supervised for safety. I understand safety is important, but what about faith in your fellow man? There is the rare occurrence of candy tampering, and I mean rare, in fact its so rare that there are no documented cases of any kids ever dying from tampered Halloween candy, yet the news media repeats the same legends every year. But even still, who’s to say that the person at the mall store or the car owner passing out candy from his trunk is less inclined to want to hurt children than your neighbors are? I realize some people are in circumstances where these alternative options may be all they have, due to weather or unsafe neighborhoods, and that’s fine, but what about the rest of you?
In my neighborhood there are children, we see them all the time, but come Halloween it’s like a ghost town. We have tried to trick-or-treat in our own area, but no one was handing out candy. We have since discovered a particularly festive neighborhood in our town that participates with gusto, so we drive over there now.
I recently came across an app, that tells you which houses are participating in trick-or-teats (yes, there’s an app for that). Wow, 21st century trick-or-treating with your smartphone. I guess it takes too much time to knock on a door if nobody is home? Sheesh.
When we were young we actually got to keep our candy, munching on it daily until all that was left were Tootsie Rolls. Modern parents make their kids “trade” their candy in for some other healthier treat or toys (I say trade, but we all know its involuntary confiscation). Some households get a visit from the “candy fairy” in the night, who robs the children of their hard earned loot, leaving some reward in its place. If that happened to any of us when we were kids you know she’d be regarded as the tooth fairy’s wicked step sister — bitch stole my candy! All that work that the children do just to have it taken away.
I understand not wanting the children to eat too much, I totally get it — I don’t want my kids to eat too much either. But you have to put yourself in their shoes, remember back to what you felt like at their age. With our kids we decided to let them keep what they earned, but with limits. On Halloween night we let them eat what they want, and after that we limit them to one piece per day. Within a couple weeks they forget about it, at which time I put their bags into the back of the fridge where it sits forgotten until the following Halloween when we use it as the candy to give out. We’ve also donated their left over forgotten candy to the troops or other charities, but only after the kids are done with it, and with their agreement.
Times must change, and traditions evolve, but it’s just interesting to look at the “then and now” of Halloween traditions and consider how they have changed. I can only imagine what it will be like when my kids are the parents — kids will be trick-or-treating online and Amazon will mail them a box of candy.
Gidget Fraser is a guest writer for Mommy Perfect.