Friday, October 31, 2003
  The Friday Five would have to go all Halloween on me. I don't know the answers to any of those questions as my last Halloween was close to 25 years ago and my memory sucks. I will say this, though. Halloween was MUCH different when I was a kid. No-one (not even the littlest kid) went trick or treating with their parents. To do so was the height of un-coolness. Even the youngest of us would roam the neighborhood unsupervised until late, late at night, getting candy from strangers. And we LIKED it. Hell we LIVED for it. Halloween was not 'oh lets go to a party' night, it was 'lets get as much candy as we possible can whilst simultaneously running around the block in the pitch dark, chasing each other' night. The candy was not the whole point, least to many of us. The point was being out in the crisp night air, whispering and laughing with each other. Doing something and being somewhere that did not involve our parents. The danger element was part of what made it exciting.

And yes, bad things happened. My brother came home one year, beaten up and missing his candy. Older kids had stolen it and roughed him up. I'm sure he's not the only one that happened to. Yet he still went out the next year, and my mom let him. She realized that you can't protect your kids from every bad thing in life. At some point, you just have to let them go, let them be kids, and pray that things turn out ok in the end. Through almost 15 years of trick or treating, none of us were really hurt. No one we knew was hurt.

I realize most people think 'that was a different time', but It really wasn't. It was the 70's. There was most assuredly as many if not more creeps and weirdos wanting to abduct our kids as there are now. Why do we assume that all our neighbors now, who we know and who know us, will fill our children's sacks with razor blades?? Why do we let this fear of the unknown stop us from letting our kids experience one of the coolest holiday traditions ever? I don't know.

I don't remember what my last Halloween costume was, but I do remember the sound and the feel of dead leaves crunching beneath my feet as I ran in the dark, my candy bag bouncing beside me. I remember the smell of autumn air and the muted laughter as we ran house to house, rang the bell, and asked a stranger for a treat.

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