When I was a kid, Halloween was one day. You had a party at school. If you were lucky, it was a year when the school staff were feeling ambitious, which meant an assembly with a costume parade. That night, you went trick or treating for an hour. If you had a complicated costume, you didn’t take it off between school and trick or treating.
Nowadays, Halloween lasts at least a week. Every little business district and mall has its own trick or treat night. There are special events, all over town, for kids to get dressed up and load up with loot. My boys trick or treat where I work. It’s like March Madness for little goblins.
If you’ve read my thoughts on kids’ birthday parties, you’re all ready for me to go into a cranky-old-man rant about this. Well, the trick’s on you, because I’m not. Mostly, I’m not. The cranky old man in me will not go completely silent into that good night, but I have tranquilized him for this one.
I like expanded Halloween. Those of you who are handy and creative put a lot of time and thought into making your kids’ costumes. The rest of us put money into it. It’s a shame to have all of that time, thought, and treasure spent on one or two wearings of the costume.
I like seeing all the creativity that went into the costumes. If I’m only taking the boys out trick or treating on Halloween, I don’t get to see much of this, as we tend to fall in with the same group throughout the night. And if it happens to be snowing, like it was this year, all the costumes are hidden under winter coats anyway.
At the other events is where I see all the diverse ideas that would never have occurred to me, and I couldn’t make into reality anyway. I like creativity on display, and there’s no time when you get to witness it quite like during the Halloween season.
Also, I like candy, which is the foremost reason I’ve taught my children to share. The more events they go to, the more candy they get, and the bigger my cut. Sharing means caring, boys; now fork it over.
Nothing is perfect though, and if the cranky old man could pull the duct tape off, he’d tell you that I don’t care for the on-the-run dinners or the missed bed times that all this Halloween running around creates. Least of all do I enjoy the events where the boys trudge around in long lines, in the cold, and end up with a handful of those tiny Tootsie Rolls to show for it. They won’t miss the candy, but kids can tell when you’re phoning it in.
I’m content with what Halloween has become. This does not mean I’d like to see other “holidays” blow up like this. I don’t need a bloated Valentine’s Day. For one thing, the candy’s not as good.