As far back as I can remember, Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. The thrill of running from house to house, racing siblings and friends to see who could collect the most candy, always got my adrenaline pumping and competitive streak soaring.
Every house on every street had the front porch light burning while awaiting the arrival of little ghouls and goblins who would anxiously ring the doorbells and yell “Trick or Treat” while holding out their bags for candy.
At around the age of 12, my friends and I reluctantly admitted we were too old to participate in this traditional childhood experience, but to this day, I still dress up for Halloween, even if it is just to take my children trick-or-treating.
My daughter is still young enough to participate in this tradition and I always enjoy dressing her up in her little Halloween costumes and taking her to collect her candy. Her trick-or-treating, however, has been very different from my childhood experiences because many of her experiences have involved collecting candy from one car to the next instead of from one house to the next.
The year my oldest child turned one, was the year that I learned about “Trunk-or-Treating”. Trunk-or-Treating is considered the “safer” version of Trick-or-Treating because it’s put on by members of a participating church, or school, instead of random neighborhood participants. This gives parents the opportunity to bring their child on Halloween and walk them around the parking lot from trunk to trunk to collect their Halloween goodies. The participating candy givers sometime dress in costume for the children and often decorate the trunks of their vehicles for an added touch.
When my daughter was three years old, I found her the cutest little fairy princess costume for Halloween. When I took it home, I showed it to my son and asked him what he wanted to dress as for Halloween. His response stunned me. He informed me that he was too old and that Halloween was for babies (Note: He was only 8 at the time).
Of course, this brought some disappointment for me, because I always looked forward to spending that time with him. I spent the next two weeks pleading with him to reconsider his decision, using the 12-year courtesy age limit as my tactic. But he simply wouldn’t budge.
I can’t help but wonder if the change in tradition has made Halloween less exciting for our children. There’s no longer the thrill of running from home to home. Instead, the thrill has been replaced as the children wait in line for their turn to walk to the next trunk. As a parent, I truly appreciate the Trunk-or-Treat events because they help to reduce my safety concerns. But my son’s decision, when he was 8, made me realize that the spirit of Halloween has grown weaker with his generation.
This year, I would like to encourage everyone, who has small children within their family or extended family, to invite them by your home on Halloween night for a little traditional trick-or-treating.
Let’s show the new generations how it was done when we were children and, hopefully, bring back a little of the true Halloween spirit!!