It’s that time of year when everyone gets out their Halloween decorations, the kids start scrambling for their trick or treat costumes, and bags and bags of candy fill the aisles of the local stores.
It is also the time when I begin to mourn the death of Halloween…
When I was a kid, Halloween ranked right up there with Christmas, Easter and birthdays on the anticipation scale. It was a big deal in the little town I grew up in. In school, we spent class time making paper jack o’ lanterns, decorating trick or treat bags (remember those brown paper grocery bags?) and spent our lunch periods talking about our costumes and our “candy routes”.
Of course, the highlight of the holiday was visiting the haunted house that was sponsored every year by the city. It was full of hokey, scary stuff – you know vampires, werewolves, mummies, ghosts, witches – none of that gore fest / slasher sickness that passes for haunted houses today.
And TV? Oh, my gosh – it was a scare fest! There was a different “monster” movie on every night in the week leading up to Halloween – movies featuring vampires (the scary kind, not the sparkly kind), werewolves (again the scary kind, not the hot sexy kind), Frankenstein, gargoyles, etc. It was the good kind of scared because you knew it was just pretend and those things really didn’t exist in the real world. The scary movies touted about today (serial killers, torture flicks) – well, those are too scary for me – because stuff like that is REAL and it is not the least bit entertaining. If I want to be scared like that, all I have to do is watch the evening news.
When my son was little, we tried to recreate the Halloween of our childhood – it didn’t work, the world has changed too much, and so has the perception of Halloween, so we stopped celebrating it years ago.
Somewhere along the line, the spirit of Halloween was lost, and that makes me really sad for today’s kids.