It’s here. Let the merriment commence. Ghosts and goblins and jack-o-lanterns. Innocent childhood fun and yummy treats.
Oh, wait. That was before. Halloween in the modern era is no longer innocent, and child-generated fun is prohibited. Every year I get more and more disgusted with Halloween, from the trashy costumes to the parental paranoia. Lately I am favoring the Halloween Scrooge attitude of leaving the porch light off and ignoring the door bell. I came by this gradually. Trick-or-treating, cool costumes, and pumpkin carving used to be part of the routine, in spite of my own personal dislike of the holiday and all of its fuss and bother.
But then Halloween began to change. Costumes got downright distasteful. Parents actually have no trouble with their daughters parading around in this
Parents got too involved. In my neighborhood, parents decided some years ago to set up tables in each cul-de-sac with folks distributing candy. All kids have to do is work their way down the table. I guess the plus side of this is that you avoid kids trampling your flower beds, and the dog doesn’t go crazy over constant doorbell ringing. However, it also eliminates the “Trick-or-treat!” And what’s the point of all the spooky yard decorations if no one approaches your house? Even worse are the “trunk or treat” events. Trick-or-treating in a parking lot just kills the spirit of the holiday. And all of the hysteria about poisoned treats and sex offenders on the loose is just another example of helicopter parents running amuck.
I’ve developed some rules for Halloween. Some day, due to my incredible readership (LOL), folks will return Halloween to its former glory days.
- If your child has not yet learned to walk, he or she is too young for trick-or-treating. Strollers and wagons to get your kids around the block are a no-no. I don’t care how cute the infant costumes are.
- If your child is of an age in which all Halloween treats pose a choking hazard, he or she is too young to trick-or-treat. A few years ago, when our neighborhood was loaded with pre-schoolers, I caved and handed out mini Play-Doh. I resented it the whole evening, since I was left with a bowl full of Play-Doh instead of Peanut M&Ms.
- Parents should not carry their child’s treat bag if he complains that it’s too heavy. That means it is time to go home ’cause he has collected too much loot. Never, ever bring a second treat bag!
- Kids who stick their hands right into my bowl of candy as soon as the door opens get a little lecture about good manners and greediness before they get their treat.
- Do not bring your dog along while trick-or-treating. Some children afraid of dogs, no matter how friendly you think your pet is. And are you really going to clean up after your dog and carry the treat bag at the same time? I didn’t think so.
- Let’s all just agree that some candies should never be given out. No one actually likes them. These include, but are not limited to Good & Plenty, Bit-O-Honey, fruit-flavored Tootsie Rolls, no-name hard candy (excluding Life Savers and Jolly Ranchers), candy corn, and anything with the texture of chalk.
I’m sure by this time tomorrow, I will have another half-dozen rules to add to my list. In a society that sanctions dressing up 9-year-olds as witch or pirate prostitutes, you will never get to the point at which you’ve seen it all.