Halloween is decidedly different than it used to be.
Forty years ago, a 7-year old could be turned loose on All Hallows Eve, traipsing for miles in search of candy. There were lots of hard candies, a few with the prized miniature chocolate bars, and then, the treasured houses with homemade treats.
Like Mrs. Streetman’s homemade popcorn balls. Those were excellent!
Even in 1970, we weren’t allowed to eat homemade stuff from people we didn’t know, but that’s beside the point. The point is, back then — or even ten or fifteen years ago — Halloween was one of the main ways that kids got to know the adults in their extended neighborhood. Not just the people next door and across the street, but people in a half-mile radius around our homes.
Now, it seems that most parents either take kids to some organized event (our church’s Trunk or Treat is one) on another night and skip Halloween altogether, or they drive kids to some other neighborhood. Every year, Briarcliff is overrun with children spilling from cars bearing license plates of surrounding counties. Some residents reported 500 kids or more… with streets blocked off by police cruisers to protect pedestrians.
Last night, we had all of nine little goblins stop by. Throughout the neighborhood, lights were on and porches decorated, but there’s a lot of leftover candy in our neighborhood this morning.
The loss in this is that we don’t know our neighbors as we used to.