What Has Happened To Hallowe’en?

When I was a kid, Hallowe’en was the holiday of holidays. Yes, Christmas was important,  but short of sporting an ugly sweater, opportunities to dress up in costume were few, unless you had parents who put you in cheap felt elf outfits for posed portrait photographs.

My three children are a young adult and two teenagers now, but with the addition of my granddaughter to our family in 2016, and two Hallowe’ens since, I will continue to lace up my sensible walking shoes and go door to door bearing an old pillowcase as a back-up candy sack.

What hasn’t gone unnoticed is the number of children who still do old-school trick or treating. Private parties and “Trunk or Treat” events are the new get your spook on. In the community groups on Facebook I belong to, 20 or 25 costumed kids constituted a successful evening of mini-candies distribution. We’re even making exceptions for properly outfitted teenagers. Put in the effort, and ye shall be rewarded. Full-size chocolate bars will never wane in popularity, and people giving them away are not shy about telling you where to find them (street names only, though, thanks).

As the parent of a disabled child, I also see the good intentions behind the Blue Bucket meme that was going around Facebook. My son has difficulty making himself understood at the best of times, and he likes to wear a full face mask with his Dracula/Harry Potter mash-up outfit. Alas, cherished allies, he chose a ratty, plastic Chapters/Indigo bag instead.

Look, there are a few things about Hallowe’ens of yore that I can do without, slutty nurse versions of Alice in Wonderland and Rockets candy among them. At the risk of sounding like a moon-eyed nostalgia tribe-leader, though, how do we put the harmless, outdoor fun back into October 31?

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