Diatribe: Didn’t Halloween Used To Be For Kids?
When I was a kid I used to look forward to Halloween almost as much as Christmas. From as far back as I can remember, my mother took my siblings and I trick-or-treating on Halloween night. In the Midwest it was usually rather chilly on Halloween night and we would bundle up beneath our store-bought costumes. To this day I can close my eyes and feel the moisture of my breath and the smell of a plastic Casper the Friendly Ghost mask as I struggled to see where I was going. It was always more fun to go out after dark, carrying our special bags to haul our loot home, and we were always closely supervised. Our house was on a hill so we had to climb up one side and down the other in order to stop at every neighbor’s door. As we got older, we were allowed to cross McCarthy Road which gave us access to another neighborhood filled with candy. Of course, we were required to take off our masks to cross the street.
Decorations for Halloween consisted primarily of simple jack-o-lanterns on the porches and cardboard cut-outs on the front doors throughout the neighborhood. Many homes displayed homemade items that children had created at school or with friends. The celebration was focused on the children.
Sometime in the years since then it seems that Halloween has become more about adults than about children.
The majority of costumes for sale are available in adult sizes. Decorations are electronic, motion activated, and often quite frightening … certainly not meant to be enjoyed by small children. Even the carving of pumpkins has changed from cutting triangles from the shell and inserting a candle to intricate carvings using special tools and lights … a feat that youngsters can rarely accomplish.
In the yards of homes in many subdivisions, trees are decorated with Halloween lights and intricate scenes of horror including bloody decapitations, zombies and extreme gore are displayed for passersby to see and enjoy. This year there seems to be an unusual amount of reported instances of Halloween decorations containing fake dead bodies and other items so gruesome that neighbors have complained to police that the displays are frightening their children.
When did Halloween change from children in Casper the Friendly Ghost masks to adults displaying fake murder scenes on their front lawns? Am I the only one who sees more adults in costumes this time of year than children?
Didn’t Halloween used to be for kids?
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