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Catching the Halloween Spirit

by Larry Patrick

    Halloween has grown into a big event for many businesses that specialize in it.  Some retailers find it a very big profit-making time of the year.

    Yet, for most of us, Halloween is about kids going out door-to-door collecting candy & other treats or having school sponsored or community sponsored events for the children to enjoy.  Like most things, Halloween has changed out of necessity over the past decades.  When I was a kid long, long ago, my friends and I would dress up as cowboys, super heroes or princesses (the girls) and run amok of our neighborhoods shouting “Trick or Treat.”  Kindly adults would answer the door and give us everything from candy to popcorn balls.  We would run home and have plenty of treats to last us for weeks.  It was so much fun.   But today, families have to be cautious of those wishing to play tricks instead of giving treats.  Another great event ruined by enough of the few to make the majority have to beware.

    We never worried in the “good ole days” of someone sticking pins inside candy bars, lacing them with drugs or grabbing a child to molest them or grabbing the neighbors black cat to torture it.  Maybe some of those things happened but we never heard about them and no one was worried about it.  It was such a simpler and seemingly happier and safer existence back then.  It pleases me that I’m old enough to remember those safer times and saddens me to see the horrible things people can do with Halloween today.

    I recall one Halloween, when I lived in Florida, several of our group were hollering trick or treat at the edge of town and scared a poor ole lady who thought we were yelling, “Fire.”  We all apologized for scaring her but she calmed down and filled our sacks with treats.  Kids were mostly polite and there was very little mischief in those Halloween days gone by.  Just spooky, innocent fun.

    As a member of the Jaycee organization years ago, we used to run a haunted house.  I was amazed at the scary setups you could do that really baffled adults and children.  Everybody had a great time and the Jaycees raised money for other community events.  Today, there are quite a few of such events in towns and cities. Halloween dances and parties are big things for children and adults.

    Halloween can be a huge celebration that people look forward to for some devilish fun.  But we have to be cautious and can’t let our guard down these days.  I can’t stand to watch the “Halloween” and “Saw” movies that are all about blood, gore, maiming and killing.  They are too close to the reality of some sick people who would actually do such things today. I like my Halloween a bit more fun and sedate.

    We’ll likely never get back to the naïve and carefree Halloween celebrations of the past where kids roamed free and no one worried about real harm except for traffic.  So, it suffices for me to say, go out and have a great time, enjoy the frivolity of what Halloween is meant to be and guard yourself and others against the sadistic nature of the few wanting to ruin it.