Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween - It Ain't What is Used to Be


Did I scare you?? No? Oh.....rats...

Halloween isn't scary anymore and that makes me sad. When I was a kid I used to get scared out of my wits on Halloween night, and I LOVED it! I lived in a small village and we were able to roam the streets freely, no parents following us around. It was a night of almost unimaginable freedom - knocking on doors and people giving us candy - for FREE!! Mingling with witches, ghosts and goblins, dead leaves whispering as they blew across our path, REAL bats flying overhead - it was the most magical night of the year! We would bravely take shortcuts through vacant lots, get about halfway across and then run screaming, terrified til we were back on the sidewalk again! 

There were always a few of those houses, the ones you ran past or crossed the street to avoid. The shabby unpainted houses with those strange people who didn't "neighbour" like everyone else. Who were they really?  

After a few years we knew what treats to expect at every house. The Lossings made homemade sticky popcorn balls in every colour! Our school principal gave out FULL SIZE chocolate bars! My neighbour used to make a special goody bag just for me - she would have to walk to the kitchen at the back of her house to get MY bag full of homemade fudge and cookies. Once we got older we found out that those people who lived in those houses gave out amazing treats: cans of Coke and big bags of chips...who knew???

This year some schools didn't allow scary costumes. Kids were encouraged to wear "caring" costumes. What the hell is a caring costume?? Other schools held an "orange and black" day and kids were only allowed to wear orange and black clothing. WTF??

C'mon people, what is going on here?? Don't they understand how absolutely thrilling it is to be (safely) scared one night of the year? To run around freely with friends sporting vampire teeth and fake blood dripping off your chin? To wrap your entire body with toilet paper and stagger off down the road dragging a pillow case behind you? 

Sometimes I miss the "good ol' days". Sometimes I get really sad that I'm old enough to remember the good old days but my daughter isn't. Living in the city in this day and age means kids aren't allowed to be out on their own. They'll never know how delicious it feels to see a clutch of witches standing on a dark street corner watching you approach...and you don't know who they are....


its me, sam said...

Halloween used to be way more fun! I only had 20 kids here tonight. I'll now for next year to buy very little!

Marguerite said...

oh Jane, I loved this post. me and hubby were just talking about our childhood Halloweens. One year I spent with a girlfriend in her neighbourhood which was very family friendly (I lived in an apartment in an industrial area). We ran around with other kids and all the houses were decorated. Your post reminded me of that fun. Hard to believe we're controlling our kids to the point that we deem they can only wear certain colours instead of costumes. Ironically we were also discussing the most inappropriate costumes we remember. One kid in my school dressed as klu klux klan but it was deemed okay because he was east indian - therefore it was funny?! Bet you couldn't get away with that today.

Niki said...

A caring costume?

My kids are lucky to go to one of a few schools that still do a Halloween parade. It is sad that kids don't get to go trick or treatin' on their own anymore.

Suzy said...

I wish my mom had allowed us to trick or treat- I only remember doing it once and that was to just 2 houses! she was so afraid plus she hated the concept of 'you give me something or I'll trick you'. they did give out candy though but we were never allowed to participate in it ourselves. As a result halloween has zilch meaning to me other than being mad I couldn't do it! my best friend LOVES halloween - it can't be too scary for her. she adores costumes - her wedding was a costume wedding (not in october either!)so can you imagine me buying a costume for the 1st time in my life and it was for a wedding?! :-) the first one was a sheet and I was ghost..

lots of things are changing nowadays and I can't say it's all for the good either.

Christy said...

Our school does the orange and black thing. We felt that there were a number of students who were unable to afford "nice" costumes and so this levelled the playing field. It does make the day a little less crazy - which is always a challenge in an elementary school.

Lisa said...

I do remember "roaming the streets" on Halloween. Without adult supervision! It truly was a magical night and even scary at times. But it was a fun scary.

We try to make it fun for or kids and grandkids, but it will probably never be the same kind of fun we had!

Out My window said...

I totally agree, Halloween is for the scary and scared!

Mark said...

Schools are so gay these days.

Sarah said...

Ya know if I had kids at one of those schools I would have insisted my kid wear a costume. One big Up Yours to the school and its crap! Messing around with Halloween the way they have done to Christmas Makes me so MAD!!!! F*** political correctness and the schools are the worst for it!!

jpkittie said...

everything has changed & it bums me out too :(

Sharon said...

Halloween is "banned" from our county schools. So is Christmas and any holiday that I used to celebrate as a kid. It is frustrating and sad that we have become so politically correct...or is it that we have succumbed to a few loud mouths and chose to remain silent? I don't know, but it is depressing. Even my daughter wishes she grew up when I did.

Tanner said...

Very well written. Although I never took part of Halloween celebrations (we have no such tradition back in my home country), I can appreciate the nostalgia of how things were vs how they are now. It is truly sad that the younger generation has to be so overly careful that they miss on this (once) perfectly innocent fun...

444 said...

"This year some schools didn't allow scary costumes. Kids were encouraged to wear "caring" costumes. What the hell is a caring costume?? Other schools held an "orange and black" day and kids were only allowed to wear orange and black clothing. WTF??"

W H A T ?????

Our local elementary school abolished fake weapons; no plastic swords... OK, but that is taking things too far. I always thought "cutesy" costumes were no good. They should be scary. Two of my kids are traditionally IRS agents, with a realistic-looking badge printed from the computer. They carry a clipboard with a sheet stating "BALANCE DUE, PLEASE REMIT" in huge letters. The adults are very scared! Last night an adult answering the door said, "Go audit someone else!"

SonyaAnn said...

You have such wonderful memories! Thank you for sharing them!!! I love halloween too! Its way better than Christmas!

The Witch said...

What a beautifully written post!
I remember all these wonderful experiences of being frighten and having to do a trick to get our treats at some houses. They always gave out hockey cards with the single stick of gum inside.
What the hell is a caring costume, I would also like to know.
The fun of dressing up and laughing, you just couldn't wait for school to be over to touch up your Halloween make-up, scoff down supper and run the roads for candy. We weren't allowed much candies as kids so this was our night to really move and collect as much as possible. Then the fun of trading off with your siblings.
Those where the days.

Jane said...

@ Witch - I LOVED the trading part though as the youngest of five I think I got ripped off PLENTY!

@ Sonya - my daughter loved Halloween more than Christmas when she was little. Candy was very important to her lol!

@444 - IRS agents!! that's the funniest scary costume I've ever heard of!! I'm still laughing!!

@ Tanner - thanks! And WELCOME!! Where are you from originally?

@ Sharon - totally banned? That's the saddest thing I've ever heard! Why are we losing our customs and our traditions? We should be able to still accommodate customs of all heritages!

@jp - I know, it IS sad, and unfair!

@ Sarah - I agree, we've gone way overboard with being PC! To the point where we have no identity anymore!

@ Mark - are you kidding? If by gay you mean wussy, then maybe...

@ Kim - being scared is a blast! I still love going to scary movies!

@ Lisa - our kids and grandkids are SO protected these days, sometimes overly so. But what can we do? We can't go BACK!

@ Christy - yes, I remember my elementary days, but is still was fun, even though chaotic!

@ Susannah - OMG I am sorry you missed out on such a fun time. I still love getting dressed up in a costume and wish I could do it more than once a year.

@ Niki - I am glad there are still a few places left that celebrate Halloween the way it should be!

@ Marguerite - thanks - sometimes I REALLY start going down memory lane lol! The fact that we remember those times so well just shows how special they really were!

Sam - I didn't have very many either, probably around 25 or so. It's so sad that I have to eat the leftovers:)

~Carla~ said...

Yousummed up what Halloween was like when I was a kid too.. Unfortunately times ave changed, and not for the better.. :( We didn't have many kids this year either..l there used to be hundreds.. Now, maybe 30-40 at best!