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Halloween, What Has Happened To You?

GhostThe Spin Cycle this week is all about Halloween.  This is re-posted from last year and pretty much sums up how I feel about this particular holiday.

I love Halloween.  In fact, everyone in my family loves it, and it was my mother’s favorite holiday, probably because it was the one time of the year she had a legitimate excuse to buy bags and bags of bite-sized Snickers and Almond Joys for at least a month – and all on sale.  Our family always went all-out for Halloween, decorating the house and front porch within an inch of our lives for the benefit of trick-or-treaters, while dressing up like extras from Night of the Living Dead when we gave out candy.  Because you know there’s nothing like making a 3-year-old in a bed sheet wet his pants while he runs back to his mother, traumatized to the point where years of therapy become necessary.

One year, when my grandparents were decorating for the Big Event, my grandfather decided a noose would be the perfect addition – just what they needed to create the right kind of ambiance.  However, he didn’t take two important factors into consideration:  the fact their porch was four feet off of the ground and the stupidity of kids in general.  Yes, some moron of a darling child stuck his stupid head through the stupid noose and lept off the porch.  Don’t worry, he was fine, although my grandparents needed a stiff drink afterwards – and they didn’t drink.  I suppose you could say it was a fitting payback for all of those 3-year-olds in bed sheets.  It was also the end of the noose as decor.

Halloween was so much fun when I was a kid – we began to anticipate it as soon as school let back in.  By the first of October, things were reaching a fever pitch as we began to plan our costumes and plot out our trick-or-treat routes.  I don’t think I knew a kid whose parents actually bought them a costume; no siree, we put those puppies together ourselves, begging and borrowing anything we could get from our parents, relatives, siblings and friends.  At one point I was so tickled with my costume that I went trick-or-treating as Harpo Marx for three years straight.  Nor did I ever own one of those silly plastic pumpkins to carry my candy around in – I by golly took a king-sized pillow case.

When I was a kid, we could actually wear our costumes to school on The Big Day.  When we got home, we pestered our moms relentlessly to COOK DINNER because we knew we weren’t stepping foot out that front door until we’d at least made a pretense of eating.  Then we’d converge on the neighborhood – the one we actually lived in, thank you very much – and went to every single house.  We met our friends and compared costumes and swapped treats and stayed up late and made ourselves sick on candy and it was wonderful.

By the time I had children things were starting to change – we NEVER let them trick-or-treat by themselves, we checked their candy before they were allowed to eat it (some hospitals even offered to x-ray it to make sure nothing was lurking in it that wasn’t supposed to be there), we only went to houses that had the porch lights on, and there were zealously religious households that blared Christian music and handed out tracts telling us how we were all going burn in Hell for allowing our kids to dress up like a Ghostbuster and a ballerina and have a little fun.  We knew people who took their kids to “rich” neighborhoods so they could get “good” candy – some of these neighborhoods were so overwhelmed by people from all over the place that no one could drive a car on the streets and some even had to have police come out to direct pedestrian traffic.  But it was still Halloween, and still fun.

We don’t decorate now that we’re in Ohio, although we can – and do – program the doorbell to scream for a month.  We give out candy, although the trick-or-treaters are few and far between.  Why?  Because they have completely bastardized the damn holiday, that’s why.  Here in Podunk, kids don’t trick-or-treat on Halloween – they trick-or-treat between 3 and 5 in the afternoon on the Sunday BEFORE Halloween.  It’s horrible.  Atrocious. Disgusting.  Pathetic.  It’s downright un-American.

It’s just no fun anymore.


19 comments

Erin says:

At other half’s, they always have trick or treat afternoon a few days before Halloween and he’s never ready.
When our kids were little, we lived on a street adjacent to one of those neighborhood’s that people drove to and it made me insane. I was always so worried about cars while treat-gathering.
Great post, Jan!
.-= Erin´s last blog ..here, have a carrot =-.

Michele says:

Yes siree, trick or treating the Sunday before is just wrong!

We also played on playground equipment that was cemented in. Remember that? You stayed on that swing or broke an arm. Your choice.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..Ma, Look What I’ve got! =-.

Jane Gaston says:

How sad that the kids can’t celebrate on the actual day like the rest of America! My daughter and I go all out decorating and even warn our neighbors that a CD will be blaring until 9 pm. Last year, I made two very large stuffed dummies of the male persuastion. Sandi wanted us to hang one with a noose from our porch ceiling but I worried that it wouldn’t be PC in a small southern town where you still see the Confederate flag and shotguns in the back windows of trucks!
But, the neighborhood kids love it and we even have scared a few adults at times by pretending to also be dummies… until they were on the porch. People bring their kids to our house from other neighborhoods and we love it!
Great post, Jan!
.-= Jane Gaston´s last blog ..The $26,624.23 Cat =-.

No Trick or Treating on Halloween? Very sad.
I would’ve loved to have seen your decorated house!
.-= Maureen@IslandRoar´s last blog ..A Time To Frost =-.

rubbish says:

Can’t see the attraction myself. Just posted about it as well. Guess it’s a British thing?
Happy Halloween though, have a blast.
.-= rubbish´s last blog ..Off for a few days =-.

Lori says:

You are so right…it’s not the same anymore as when we were kids or even when my adult children were young. Sad that so many of these good things have changed or no longer a part of our lives.
.-= Lori´s last blog ..I am humbled =-.

jenni says:

I have similar memories of trick-or-treating. My mom made my costume every year. Loved it. Times certainly have changed.
.-= jenni´s last blog ..Sick =-.

First of all, you’re linked.
This will be Sprite’s first year of actual trick or treating and we’re going to be doing it at night in a nice neighborhood since the one we live in has many empty homes and they are far from each other. When I was younger, the same rules applied as they did to you. But I wasn’t allowed to trick or treat until I was almost 10, so I still missed out on a lot of great times. I remember we always ran out of candy before dark. Last year, I didn’t even buy candy since we haven’t had our doorbell rung since the first year we lived in our house. Sad, really.
.-= Sprite’s Keeper´s last blog ..Duck and Coldcuts =-.

Awwww…I’m sorry it’s no fun in your town. Our town has a parade every year on Halloween…yes actually on October 31st. It’s great fun for the kids – and for us as well. We all put on our costumes and head out to the parade at 6pm. The bands and floats, etc in the parade throw out candy for the kids. We usually get home around 8pm at which time, the kids visit a few houses for trick or treating – but for the most part – they have fun and load up on candy at the parade! We can’t wait!
.-= Nothing Fancy´s last blog ..I Did It! =-.

LPC says:

I am holding my breath in hope that we never give up the night of festivities here.
.-= LPC´s last blog ..Living Beyond Archetypes, My Name Is. =-.

Pseudo says:

I remember this post. I loved it then and loved it again today. I think it was when I first found your blog through Mid Life bloggers.

Happy Halloween Jan ; -)
.-= Pseudo´s last blog ..Random Recess, Random Tuesday =-.

Linda Tustin says:

THIS YEAR- Halloween is going to be on Halloween (the 31st) from 6:30-8:00 Pm. up here in Urban Akron. I am so excited! I hate it when they do it on a day that is not even the real!

Why wouldn’t they do it on the actual day this year since it is on Saturday? Our neighbor hood decides when and what time each year and I am not even sure who is on the committee. We live on a deadend street- but there are lots of trick or treators, It usually costs us about $80.00 for candy! :)

Linda says:

We used to use the leaves from a huge ash tree in our front yard to stuff a pair of my Dad’s jeans & a flannel to make a scarecrow. We’d set in in a chair by the front door. One year Dad said he was going to dress like the scarecrow and sit in the chair & grab/scare the kids as they came to Trick or Treat. That is untill the day before Halloween when we found the scarecrow stabbed and dismembered in the yard.
.-= Linda´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

Out here where I live in PA, the different ‘townships’ have different trick-or-treating days. Always from 6-8 and a majority of them are NOT on Halloween night. Since we don’t live in a suburban area, we take Princess Nagger to a suburban neighborhood so she can enjoy the thrill of trick-or-treating. And luckily it’s in a township that actually schedules it ON Halloween night. :)

You’re right – it’s definitely not as fun like it was when we were kids. Sad, really!
.-= Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)´s last blog ..Wordlesss/Wordful Wednesday – Pretty Pilgrim and Thanksgiving Feast Part 3 – Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes =-.

Donna says:

I concure with you. I belive that halloween truely is not what it used to be when we were little. How ever in our neighbor hood we still dress up and go all out to scare the young ones. I have made some pretty amazing costumes so that no one would recognize me. I LOVE it. I did spend the whole weekend making my grandchildren their costumes and loved every minute of it.I am sorry that it is not any fun for you any more. Take care

I feel so sorry for kids now. All this hovering. All these rules. No fun.
.-= class factotum´s last blog ..Marriage 201, Lecture 212: You won’t do it right =-.

I loved Halloween as a kid but as a mother……..not so much. Costume stress, the whole trick or treat danger and idiots. My idiot tolerance has shrunk to nothing.
.-= Smart Mouth Broad´s last blog ..SIMPLY THE BEST =-.

Be glad that Halloween is on a Saturday this year. At least they will probably celebrate it on the day.

Thank you for sharing. Love your layout–very Haloweeny. Great Spin!
.-= Christopher (AKA: CaJoh)´s last blog ..F2: Finger Breadsticks =-.

Sounds like your house growing up was AWESOME on Halloween. The kid jumpin’ off the porch is enought to make anyone drink! What an idiot!
Shame that times are changing and that there’s always someone who has to ruin things for everyone else. Next Christmas will be axed. Noooooooooooo!!!!!!! ;-)
.-= Kirsty@Gone Bananas´s last blog ..Comment on Fall Festival Fun and Fish? by Sprite’s Keeper =-.

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