Trunk-or-Treats are Ruining Halloween


As I roamed own the aisles of Target last week I made my way over to the dreaded seasonal area to buy Halloween candy. "How much do you think we should get?" I asked my husband. This, of course, led to an obligatory recount of how much we went through in years past. 

Three years ago: a ton (people were even driving into our area from other areas)
Two years ago: some
One year ago: less than a bag (we still have some)

Background: we live in a nice neighborhood full of families with kids ranging from infants to teenagers. On our street alone there are close to a dozen kids.

So, you ask, what happened last year? Could it have possibly been the weather? The arrival of a religious sect that doesn't partake in such festivities? Did local law enforcement warn of a killer on the loose?

No, no, no. My friends, what happened was something called Trunk-or-Treat

Yes, trunk. As in the one in the rear of your car.

[source]

Primarily sponsored by churches and sometimes schools, parents park their decorated vehicles in parking lots and dispense candy to costumed kiddos. Sometimes these aren't on Halloween, but more and more they are, meaning families go there instead of door-to-door. 

And now you're up to speed on the slow death of Halloween as we know/knew it.

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween as an adult (although I am admittedly more excited now that I have a tiny human to dress up), but as a kid I had fun with it. My mom made our costumes for many years- I was a clown, a Native American (oopsies), an angel, cowgirl, and Little Red Riding Hood. We'd eat an early dinner and then eagerly wait for the sun to go down so we could take the neighborhood by storm with all the other kids from the neighborhood. It was fun. It was a tradition

But now, there are less and less kids roaming the neighborhoods on October 31. Parents are concerned with safety, enthusiastic about convenience, or feel pressured by certain organizations (or by their kids, who are in turn pressured by said organizations). Cracked.com says it's what happens when "laziness and paranoia collide in a parking lot" (source). Time reported a few years ago in an article entitled "Grownups in Costumes: Have Adults Ruined Halloween?" that there hasn't been "a single documented case of Halloween candy poisoning" and that "sexual-predation rates are no different on Halloween than any other night of the year" (source). Moms get to obsessively pin trunk-decorating ideas on Pinterest, dads get to shoot the shit with other dads by their cars, and kids get to collect ridiculous amounts of candy. But where's the spirit? Where's that creepy feeling you get when you dare to ring the doorbell of the neighbor who you think might be hiding dead bodies in his attic (or something a kid would think up)? Or the butterflies in your stomach when you go to your crush's house (and then his fat, cranky dad opens the door)? The pride you feel when your parents finally let you go out with just your friends (as long as you stay between this road and that road)? What about getting yelled at repeatedly to "not step on the grass" and to "say thank you!" (just another way to teach manners)? 

The idea of trick-or-treating dying out makes me depressed. I want Sawyer to be able to dress up like some idiotic movie characters (okay, but not that part) and run around our block hyped up on sugar making people go "awww" when they open the door to see him. And to later know that he's sauntering around with his pals probably acting like a hooligan or flirting with girls. It's part of growing up.

Resist the urge, parents. Put down the crepe paper, dry ice, and whatever the hell people use to decorate their cars (that sounds ridiculous, decorating a car). 

And rest assured. As much as I hate buying candy for other peoples' kids, abhor hearing my dogs bark a million times, and detest hearing my doorbell ring, I will always buy candy and keep my light on... until at least nine.

3 comments:

  1. We had that happen only once- 2 years ago when Hurricane Sandy hit us hard and more than half the town was without power. I was glad the kids didn't have to cancel Halloween, but I would never want it to become the norm.

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  2. I've always liked Halloween & was incredibly disappointed when last year (the first year in our house) we didn't get a single trick-or-treater. Our road is a little bit busy compared to other nearby neighborhoods, so I wasn't expecting a lot, but none? It just didn't feel like Halloween. I don't think this new trend was the culprit in the case of my particular location, but I will be hanging out at a relative's house this year where they actually have kids coming around -- I love seeing all the different costumes!

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  3. Whoa, I didn't even know this was a thing! How depressing.

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