From the October 2015 issue

Has Halloween Changed?

Last May, I moved into a new home. Well, it was new to me. A 1960s brick colonial in Royal Oak. As soon as we walked into the house, we fell in the love with the layout. Great flow! But that wouldn’t have mattered if we didn’t love the neighborhood. Luckily, it’s a charming little enclave at the most northwestern edge of the city, filled with a mix of brick colonials like mine, Tudors and ranches. Practically every house is a little different and the streets are lined with big trees. In short, it was my kind of neighborhood, the sort where I instantly imagined kids parading down the street in Halloween costumes, marching up my driveway and onto my pumpkin-lined porch to trick or treat.

I know Christmas is probably more associated with warm and fuzzy feelings, but for me, Halloween has that effect. Growing up in apartments, I envied my friends who lived in a house like I live in now, in a neighborhood that I now call home. And so Halloween really matters to me, probably more than it should. I always ensure that I’m home that night (no Halloween night parties for me!) because I don’t want to be one of those dark houses, the ones that don’t participate in this adorable ritual.

And so last year, I had my treat bowls ready (yes, I have two: one for chocolate lovers and one for those who prefer lollipops and fruity-flavored confections like Skittles). I couldn’t wait to see how many Elsas and Annas would come to my door and what other costumes I’d see. And while I certainly got a few Frozen princesses and had the extra treat of seeing a baby dressed up like a wee toothless shark, I barely made a dent in my treat bowls. Mind you, it was a cold, rainy Halloween. But still …

A few of my neighbors said that trick-or-treating has declined in recent years. Instead, kids in our neighborhood go to our annual Halloween parade that starts in the little park on my street and ends with trunk-or-treating at the church parking lot down the road. Or they go to other Halloween events, like the Detroit Zoo’s Zoo Boo or indoor trick-or-treating events. To me, I think they should go to all of those and hit their ‘hood for candy on Halloween night. So in this edition of Metro Parent, we offer a roundup of some of the best trunk-or-treating or indoor trick-or-treating events, plus our supersized October calendar, brimming with Halloween fun for the whole family. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. But that doesn’t mean I’ve given up that this year. I’ll have ninjas and princesses and pirates and witches and ghosts and kitty cats and all sorts of candy-loving monsters line up at my door for some tasty Halloween treats. No pencils or boxes of raisins. I’ll have the good stuff, and I’ll be waiting and hoping for a big turnout.

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