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Give Halloween Back to the Kids

Why have adults co-opted Halloween?

When did Halloween become a day that was no longer about children?

I ask because this year, like every year, my daughter will go trick-or-treating, and at numerous houses throughout the neighborhood nobody will answer the door. For those who live in apartment or townhouse communities, where the population is more transient, the problem increases exponentially, to where the majority of dwellings are unoccupied come Halloween night. Without candy, the children are left to wander the streets in sadness.

For kids, Halloween can be a special holiday. It gives them a chance to dress in silly costumes and revel in the acquiring copious amounts of treats they otherwise can’t freely enjoy. As an adult, all you really need to do is buy some chocolate and stand at the door, preferably in a silly mask, to help create fun for your neighborhood kids.

Today, though, despite the fact that New Year’s Eve, the Fourth of July, the Super Bowl, Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day and countless lesser holidays all give adults ample opportunity to drink alcohol and shout “Wooo!” at the top of their lungs, Halloween has been co-opted as yet another excuse to party. Homes are left unpopulated, and children are left to spread great sorrow across the land.

I can’t even help my daughter find a cute kid’s costume to wear because I’m desperately trying to steer her away from the more grown-up costumes. Why does every costume for girls come with a garter? There are more costumes with the word “naughty” in them than the words “Harry Potter.” Did Blackbeard really wear fishnet stockings? I don’t know, but whoever designed the “naughty pirate” costume seems to think so. I’m sorry, but Alice in Wonderland’s dress was considerably longer than that.

Adults of the world: You still have 364 evenings during the year. For a couple hours on Halloween, put on some spooky music and hand out a few pieces of candy. Afterwards, you can dress as any naughty fictional character you wish.

Michele October 26, 2011 at 02:41 PM
I totally agree! Why do all female costumes have to be "sexy"? As an adult, I think this is a sad thing....
Mary Stachyra Lopez October 26, 2011 at 02:55 PM
I know what you mean. Ninety percent of the women's costumes in most stores look like they would be better suited for a Victoria's Secret catalog. Frankly, I would be embarrassed to wear most in public. This year I think I will probably ditch the pre-made costume and put together something on my own from Goodwill and Target. What do other women do who don't like the costume options in stores?
Michele October 26, 2011 at 03:38 PM
I make my own, or go to my store of old ren faire garb.... Being able to sew helps a lot!
Leslie Perales Loges October 26, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Mary, I usually come up with something out of my own closet. The year before last my fiance and I dressed as characters from our favorite TV show and, with the exception of an apron, my whole costume was from my closet. This year I may look a bit like a neon circus act because I'm doing some LED hoola hooping for a haunted house fundraiser. I'm wearing black shorts and a black top but am adding neon pink leg warmers, a bright tutu, some glow-in-the-dark neon hair gel and glow bracelets and whatnot, but it's still something that covers everything up. It actually makes me sad that I don't get trick-or-treaters. I know my friends are throwing a party during the weekend, but if communities are celebrating Halloween on the day itself then I should be seeing dressed up kiddos, right? Likely wrong. I live in a condo complex so there are very few kids. I would love to see our community deck itself out and advertise itself as a place where people COULD easily come do a bunch of trick-or-treating in a neighborhood that's compact. It would probably make it easier on some of the little kids, there's less street crossing and if people live in a non-celebrating neighborhood they could come to ours. Maybe next year...
Mary Stachyra Lopez October 26, 2011 at 03:54 PM
What a cool idea! That sounds like a great costume. I know what you mean about the trick-or-treaters. Last year I bought a ton of candy, and I had less than a dozen kids knock on the door. It was disappointing, since that was the first year I've handed out candy. Poor me, I had to finish it all myself. :)
Michele October 26, 2011 at 04:03 PM
be careful what you ask for. We have a lot of kids where we live ( London Towne), but then kids from other areas "bus" in and it gets crazy. Especially later when the older kids (over 16) come around, not even dressed up and expect you to hand over everything you have left and get rude about it. The kids who live around here don't seem to have that attitude, but the ones who get out of cars sure do! I'm cutting off early this year for that reason. You can always visit me and hand out candy, as I have a few neighbors that don't! LOL
Mary Stachyra Lopez October 26, 2011 at 04:17 PM
lol! I guess I will count my blessings. I wonder at what point it became more common for high schoolers to go trick-or-treating. I know when I was in high school, roughly a decade ago, there were definitely some people who would do it, but I feel like I see a lot more older kids doing it now. I used to do it in high school, but I would dress up and go along with younger kids, who I would help supervise, to make it more socially acceptable, haha.
Leslie Perales Loges October 26, 2011 at 04:19 PM
Michele, you've reminded me that I have two 18th century Dutch costumes—a male Achterhoek and a female Isle of Marken. I've always threatened to use them for Halloween but never have. I think I still have my wooden shoes too... (I'm from Holland/Zeeland, Michigan—lots of Dutch ancestry, though I'm not Dutch at all. I worked at a local tourist place where our costumes were our uniforms and we did folk dancing in them. You usually had to have one made for you or buy one used from someone.)
Mary Stachyra Lopez October 26, 2011 at 05:40 PM
One of our readers posted on Facebook a comment that I thought was really interesting: "My grandmother remembers Halloween when she was a child. It was the adults dressing up and going door to door in disguise, and being served treats and drinks at each stop. Usually they visited people they knew so it was like a series of mini-parties. (Halloween would be more fun if I actually knew the people who stopped by!)" Do any of our readers remember that sort of thing? That sounds like a lot of fun.
Michele October 26, 2011 at 07:41 PM
I remember having door-to-door block parties like that (but not dressed up in costume) on New Years Eve when I was growing up. Some neighbors even lit off fireworks st midnight, and we would bang pots and pans and make lots of noise to welcome the New Year. Growing up in Essex County, NJ, you would be mocked if you were caught trick or treating once in high school (unless supervising younger kids). You would certainly not be given candy if you actually even went to the door, unless you were accompanied by younger kids! You would also not be given candy if you went out without any type of costume at all.... You had to have an answer when asked what you are dressed up as!
Michele October 26, 2011 at 07:42 PM
this sounds like a great costume!
Mike Conway October 27, 2011 at 03:01 AM
Hi. For those talking about being in apartment or condo complexes -- with our first child, we would leave our apartment complex for my parents townhouse community simply because nobody was giving out candy where we lived. So the fact that kids don't come to your door could very well be because they're at family or friends homes, in communities like, apparently, London Towne.
Leslie Perales Loges October 27, 2011 at 03:33 AM
In my community there are literally almost no children. There's one in my building and he's like 13, there's a small child in the building next door, and the one beyond that. I've seen one other child and he's also about 12 or 13. But my community is in Reston Town Center so it's mostly professionals with no kids, empty nesters or transient people who rent from owners.
Mary Stachyra Lopez October 27, 2011 at 11:51 AM
I think that must be the situation in my fiance's community (where I gave out candy last year). There's certainly no shortage of kids there...
Janaye M Lawson October 30, 2011 at 05:55 AM
Bravo Mike, did these people not go trick or treating as kids... nobody wants kids to have fun anymore..they wanna load em with drugs, give them a comp companion and shut them up... Let Kids be kids, run and play and cause a lil annoyance and fun, like we did... I never hurt anyone or their property I was raised better... buy some candy, SMILE and say happy halloweeen to the kids...

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