Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. When I was a kid, Halloween was an event. Entire neighborhoods would band together for block parties and trick-or-treating.
Every year, my family would head out to a local farm and pick out our pumpkins in preparation of a night of carving jack-o-lanterns and munching on scooped-out pumpkin seeds that my mom would roast for us.
Every house had construction paper ghosts and witches taped up in windows while the more extravagant decorators would install purple bulbs in their outdoor lights and stretch cotton batting over trees and bushes to look like spider webs.
Jack-o-lanterns were on all the porch steps and even the most rambunctious of kids would never have dreamed of smashing them.
Our costumes, if not homemade, came in those flimsy cardboard boxes and consisted of nothing more than a plastic smock bearing a picture of whatever it was that you were supposed to be and a plastic mask that was equally impossible to either see or breathe through. The mask had the added bonus of being held on by a single staple and an elastic string that was sure to snap at any given moment.
Trick-or-treating was held on Oct. 31 no matter what day of the week it happened to fall on and kids went door to door, at night, unabashedly begging strangers for candy. The parents gathered at certain parts of the block drinking hot cider with spiced rum while their kids darted from house to house clutching pillow cases full of loot.
And you know what? No one was kidnapped. No one was poisoned and as far as I can remember, no one ever got a razor blade in their apple.
In fact, the worst thing I can remember is when I was living in Marion, Ohio, and a bigger kid knocked down my friend Teresa Martin and stole her bag of candy. I chased him, shouting the best obscenities that I could come up with using my very limited vocabulary of curse words, but he got away. We were 12.
Now that I have kids of my own, I notice just how much Halloween has changed.
I recently took my 3-year-old, Ben, to pick out his costume. After much deliberation, it came down between Iron Man and Spiderman. He finally decided upon the latter.
This will really be his first year trick-or-treating and he’s very excited about it, but it won’t be the same as what I or my brothers used to do when we were his age.
For one thing, trick-or-treat is apparently now a daytime thing, which, I’m sorry, is stupid. It’s Halloween! It’s supposed to be dark and scary — that’s the point. Dressing up in costumes and going to “trunk-or-treats” in broad daylight is just lame. That’s not Halloween, that’s what society’s fear has changed Halloween into.
Now, before you send in the hate mail, let me clarify: I don’t mean that I’m against trunk-or-treats in general. Kids can have a lot of fun at those. But I do view them as sort of a necessary evil and only have their place because very few neighborhoods hand out candy anymore.
So, this year I will make a point to practice what I preach. On Halloween, the porch light at my house will be on and my candy supply will be stocked and ready.
Maybe it will catch on.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.