Trick or treat? Or not.
Granted, I have no children. This places me solidly in the spectator box when it comes to child-rearing, but I noticed a pattern when asking friends if they would be giving out candy to kids this year:
“We don’t get them in my neighborhood.” Not a pattern, really, more of a uniform chorus of the same sentence. So…where have all the kiddies gone?
“Our neighborhood is full of kids. We see them come out of their houses in full costumes and we get the candy ready, then they get in cars and drive to the mall.”
Wh- Wh- What? The mall?!? Wh- Why? (In my opinion, kids should never be allowed to go to the damn mall, but that’s just me.)
“They do their trick-or-treating at school. People come in, set up a trunk or a table, and pass out candy there.”
Th- Th- That’s not trick-or-treating. That’s grocery shopping.
Why the shift? I feel like in the 80s we were plenty scared of kidnappers, razor blades and poisoned candy (the latter of which has never happened, by the way), not to mention ample cause to bemoan, in our pre-adolescent voices, the reflective tape totally messing up our costumes! We’re gonna stay on the sidewalk, mom, there are no cars there! Gawd!
But we went. And we had a barge-load of fun every year. Running door to door, swapping insider tips with friends met along the way as to who as giving out the best stuff, and mapping out the neighborhood in your mind for optimal candy-ation. I would not be surprised to learn that whoever created mapquest was inspired by childhood candy-mapping.
“Skip the one-sided cul-de-sac, it’s not cost effective!”
It seems sad to me that people are so scared of each other these days that we’ve taken this experience away from our kids, especially given that we actually live in the safest time in human history, it’s just that we also live in an age tragically miseducated by the 24 hour news cycle. (That US media link manages to still focus on conflict, but unless you think your kids are going to get into a religious conflict, the point stands. The Brits were better focused.)
But as I mentioned, I ain’t got none of them little critters, so I don’t really get to talk.
Well. There is one. A certain four year old, whose continued wellbeing feels like arguably the single most important task of the planet today… Would I want him trick-or-treating? The answer?
Shit yes! He’s going to LOVE it!
But then again, he lives in a small town, and has two responsible parents to chaperone his tiny Iron Man butt.
Big city? Packs of kids wandering loose? Would I want him in one of those in a few years? I….don’t know.
What about you?