From the October 2019 issue

A Halloween Plea: Why Kids Should Still Head Out on Oct. 31

Metro Parent's editor-in-chief reminisces of past Halloween traditions and gives a desperate Halloween plea to put the trick-or-treating back in the holiday.

Three children in costume carrying trick-or-treating buckets

Once upon a time, there was a magical night where kids got dressed up in silly or spooky costumes and hit the streets of their neighborhoods at dusk. They went door-to-door, threatening to pull a prank but really just looking for free treats.

And the community by and large complied.

They draped their homes in cobwebs and crime scene tape, turned on their porch lights to beckon the little beggars and tossed handfuls of candy bars, lollipops and the like into the pumpkin pails or pillow cases of the kids.

These kids would wear themselves out trying to get to as many houses as possible before they had to head home. Once they got home, they’d sit cross-legged on the floor, pour out their Halloween haul and assess their sweet treasure. Was it more than last year? Any full-size candy bars in there? What am I going to do with those yucky Now & Laters? Trade them? Trash them?

This was Halloween night, and it was glorious. Nowadays, not so much.

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Don’t get me wrong: Halloween as an almost month-long celebration is going strong. In fact, in this month’s issue, we give you the scoop on the local Halloween scene this month – and it’s robust.

Orchard Mall’s Monster Mash – which we’re producing – is a must-attend event on Friday, Oct. 25. So, if your family loves this time of year like I do, then you are in for a treat. Actually, you’re in for a lot of treats.

And that’s where I think we’ve lost our way, Halloween fans.

There are so many opportunities for kids to “trick-or-treat” that the actual night designated to do so has become an afterthought. Even an expert in our cover story mentions that Halloween night trick-or-treating is “so old-school” as parents and kids opt for other Halloween happenings.

I think it’s a mistake. One we need to reconsider.

I’m all for the extra month-long Halloween events. But they are no substitute for the “old-school” tradition (I’m reclaiming that diss as a pride point, by the way) of kids going door-to-door on Halloween night.

I know the weather can be crappy. I know that it’s often on an inconvenient weekday. I don’t care. That’s part of what makes it memorable and special to kids.

Don’t you remember those cold, dreary Halloween nights when your mom made you wear a slicker or a coat over your hobo costume? Don’t you remember the thrill of being out past dark with your pack of friends hunting for candy? Don’t you remember feeling that little charge in the air that something scary was just around the corner?

Sure, getting free candy out of the trunk of a car at a local trunk-or-treat event on a Saturday afternoon is nice. But it’s not nearly as cool as heading out on Halloween night.

So, while you comb through our guide to Halloween fun this month, I hope you also make sure you recommit to the real deal on Oct. 31. You can bet my porch light will be on and my candy bowl will be full.

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