In the past week, there have been a lot of great columns about the Halloween of the 1970’s versus the Halloween of today.
They brought back a lot of memories for me. No one bought our costumes, we made them, and usually with very little help from our parents. As far as our candy, our parents didn’t know anything about gluten-free, organic, low-fat, sugar-free, healthy snacks. They simply warned us to look for razor blades in our apples.
Back then, having your parents “check” your candy meant giving them some. And germs, well, that wasn’t a concern. We reached our unwashed hands into bowls full of unwrapped candy corns and took a handful.
As for our bags, they were not fancy tote bags stenciled with our names on them, but pillow cases. Safety? If you were lucky and Dad had been to the hardware store, you might find a flashlight in the back of the coat closet with batteries that worked. Or, maybe not. There was no driving from driveway to driveway. In fact, there was not a parent in sight. As soon as we were old enough to look both ways before crossing the street, we trick-or-treated with our friends sans adults.
The store-bought-costume, gluten-free, safety-vest Halloween of today is a lot less exciting, in my opinion. I’m not suggesting we throw caution to the wind and let our kids trick-or-treat with no supervision. Clearly, we live in a different world today with more cars and more dangers in general to worry about.
But I’ve always loved Halloween and all that it represents — limitless candy, of course, creativity, and a healthy dose of imagination that makes you just a little bit fearful of what lurks around to next dark corner. It’s not nearly as fun from the backseat of a climate controlled minivan with a dad in a safety vest and an industrial spotlight illuminating the way telling you that you can have only one piece of candy before bed.
So, what I am suggesting is a happy medium. Grab the sheet, cut some eye holes, don’t forget the pillow case to carry your loot, and let them eat all the chocolate they want for one glorious night. And parents, if you must go, stay in the shadows and let the little ghosts fly …
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.