We tried to give out candy and found it a chore. Not because nobody wanted any candy, but because there were very few people out seeking candy. It seems that in Liberty, NY kids don’t trick-or-treat, at least not very much. This seems very different from when I was a kid, or a teen-ager, or a young adult, or, uh…my perception of current reality. Why isn’t Halloween the same anymore?
Screwy, psycho bastards are my number one thought. There are some seriously wigged out freaks out there preying on children. Now, I don’t think that there are very many of them, but we certainly hear about the ones there are. I think that caution is a great trait in parents, but there is also a line to cross over into crippling fear. (This line would be crossed say by not allowing your kid to play dodgeball in gym for fear of an injury.) Halloween provides just the sort of environment where these fears can actually come to pass, so it’s probably an interesting tightrope to walk.
My second thought is that nobody knows their neighbors. We all live in our own little techno-universes and have our own busy lives. Do we really know the people who live next to us (or above and below us), let alone the people who live down the street?
My third thought is that we’re real damn fat. It’s hard work walking around and collecting chocolate and sugar. Better to just let it come to us…or:
DRIVE AROUND IN A CAR TO GET CANDY!!! This is where all of the above lead. Kids in SUVs being driven door to door to collect candy. Where’s the fun in that? How can you show off your cool costume while sitting in the back of the Escalade?
In Liberty there were not a lot of lights on. Too few people being involved (even this tangentially) in the life of their neighborhoods, “No thanks, please pass on by.” What lights were on attracted no groups of candy-seeking children. In fact, we walked for at least a dozen blocks of a residential nature before we saw anyone out at all; this was after driving for a few dozen blocks of the same emptiness. We finally got to a block that seemed to have some activity. There were a few cars out, but the parents were letting the kids walk the block and keeping an eye on them from the street. There were also a couple large groups of kids out with an adult or two to chaperone.
This was more like it! We quizzed the kids on their knowledge of the American Revolution and gave out candy. It was amazing what some of these kids (and even their parents) didn’t know. But we eventually got all of them around to the right answers. For example, our first president was George Lincoln and we were fighting for our independence from those darn Germans.
After about 20 minutes of this, the streets were empty again and we left the night to its own devices. We did get rid of most of our candy, talked to a couple of interesting people at their houses, and had fun in our costumes. But I sure miss the good old days of maurading children pillaging every last ounce of candy out of every neighborhood in the city. I miss seeing the costumes and the delight of children showing them off. Maybe Halloween was never that innocent to begin with…an odd dichotomy.