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Darlene M Caban

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Whatever Happened To Hoofing It On Halloween?
By Darlene M Caban   

Last edited: Sunday, October 26, 2003
Posted: Sunday, October 26, 2003

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Remember when kids used to WALK to houses on Halloween?

I guess this is just another sign that I'm turning into an old lady, but I cringe whenever I see carloads of kids being carted around on Halloween night. That's not the way you're supposed to do it!

The proper way to go trick-or-treating is to get a large group of friends together and go by yourself, on foot, to as many houses in your immediate neighborhood as you can walk to without getting tired. (Parental warnings will have been issued to all kids that, "If I have to come get you, you won't be going out next Halloween!")

The whole point of trick-or-treating was that the KIDS did the work of gathering the candy-- we walked to the houses, got the candy, and then walked home. Our parents stayed at home watching TV and enjoying a kid-free night-- no parent in his or her right mind would have even thought of spending the night driving kids around town, never mind into neighboring towns.

Driving kids around on Halloween changes it from a kid's night into an adult's night. The joy of Halloween was that the KIDS got to choose which house to go to first, how far to go, and when to go home. When you're being driven around in a car, Mom decides everything... what fun is that? When you're walking all night, you come home tired and ready to go to bed-- but if you spend all night getting into and out of a car, you're just as wound up as you were when you got home from school. You don't have the same sense of accomplishment at the end of the night, either.

When I started handing out candy on Halloween back in the 80's, I saw several parents walking with their small children. They hung back while the kids went up to the houses, not interfering. But as the years went by, I saw more and more kids being chauffered to my door-- and most of them were from neighboring towns, since our neighborhood has very few children. Suddenly, we were having to buy six bags of candy when previously we'd only needed three bags. I thought, 'Geez, if these people are so darned 'concerned' about their kids' safety that they're driving them around, why don't they keep their kids in their OWN neighborhoods instead of driving them to strangers' houses in different towns?'

Ah, for the 'good old days', when kids could walk the streets on Halloween night unencumbered by cars or parents, making their own choices, getting some exercise, and being with friends. Walking down the street with sore leg muscles and the 'burden' of a heavy trick-or-treat bag is one of my happiest childhood memories... it's a shame that today's kids will never have memories like that.

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Reviewed by Debra Conklin 3/26/2004
My siblings and I took empty pillow cases and once they were filled we went home. Luckily, we lived in a big town, so there were lots of doors to knock on. Mom and Dad loved their free time. Now, I'm one of those parents who totes her son from door to door, in the car. But, in my own defense, we live in the country and the houses are too far apart for a four year old to be trucking it around.
Good write, Darlene!
Reviewed by Bob Holt (Reader) 11/13/2003
I agree. Aside from Halloween being safer in the old days, I resented the large number of older out-of-towners coming to visit. It seemed like they started visiting from three adjoining states.
Reviewed by Andrew Rafalski 11/12/2003
Yeah, I liked those days too. Halloween has almost become a kid "industry". And some of them are not exactly kids.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 10/27/2003
Too many perverts out there. Shame too.

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