Looking Scared

Boo! The current angst in my corner of the world concerns that most joyous of childhood holidays – Halloween. There is a huge debate on whether or not to allow Halloween trick-or-treat. The kids are all for it. The parents are divided. My neighbor has 3 girls. The older 2 are of an age where trick-or-treat is THE MOST IMPORTANT event EVER! I was talking with them and was asked if I was going to be handing out candy this year. The answer is still no; not last year, nor the year before and definitely not this year. They are trying to come up with an alternative that they feel comfortable with. I suggested that they purchase 2 big bags of candy of a type they know the girls will like and do it like an Easter Basket. Have the girls put their pumpkin pails by the front door and go to bed. In the morning the candy is overflowing the pumpkins. Everyone is happy. They weren’t exposed to anyone and no one was exposed to them. The parents can control the type and quantity of candy and more important the origin of the treats. The girls can wear their costumes all day on Halloween and not get cold or wet (as it usually rains and is around 45 degrees on average). My SIL was considering getting a “candy slide” to deliver candy into distanced plastic pumpkins or bags. A novel idea but I think it a little impractical but it does keep the kids off the porch and at least 6 feet away.

I remember going out on Halloween night. I was in 2nd grade. And I went with my friend Anita. Just the 2 of us. We walked around the entire subdivision. Rang every door bell. Ate a goodly amount of candy as we went. We scored popcorn balls at Mrs. Smeltzer’s house and Ms. Inez gave us hot chocolate. Mrs. Farmer was handing out cookies and the Smiths had really big apples. No one was scared of kids being out after dark, poison in candy or razor blades in apples, the sanitary conditions of homemade treats or being abducted.

All that changed by the time I had kids. We walked with them around the neighborhood to make sure they stayed safe from any unsavory characters. We put reflective strips on the back of the costumes to make sure they were visible to cars. We inspected all the candy and removed any that appeared compromised (wrappers not on securely, any that were possible choking hazards, anything not store bought). At one point we made the trip to the vet clinic and took a radiograph of all the candy (the Vet I was working for was doing it for his kids and offered the same for any of the employees). We put a time limit and set boundaries for where they could go.

And today’s parents have the added issue of whether or not it is safe due to the pandemic. To say they are scared is an understatement. Of course there are some parents who are completely unconcerned but these are the same ones who refuse to wear a mask and insist that the whole thing is a hoax… Tomorrow is the day. I’m curious because there are no trunk or treats scheduled that I’m aware of, the school Fall Festival has been cancelled, and the Mall stores are NOT passing out candy to any in costume. What will Halloween look like this year???

I’m so very scared
Of ghosts, goblins, and COVID
Ring the bell and run!

56 thoughts on “Looking Scared

  1. ouch I get you with the whole safety thing … we never used to lock our doors or car!

    The closest we ever got to scrounging sweets off neighbours were the two lovely old gents who used to have a supply whenever we wished to visit … which was fairly often as our parents only gave us sweets and soft drinks once a year on Christmas eve, and occasionally for our birthday … but they were rationed 🙂

    Making up for my deprived childhood now, but prefer to buy my own rather than take any from strangers 🙂

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    1. It was a real treat to get candy as a kid. My dad would bring home circus peanuts and orange slices (a type of gumdrop) on pay day sometimes. That was always a high point! My friend Anita’s mother always had dishes of candy everywhere. I was always amazed but Anita had no interest in it because it was there all the time! I have my personal candy stash too…

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          1. lol oh I can eat them in the middle of summer too 🙂 I feel you can never trust the ‘expiry’ on them … must eat them quickly just in case they go off 😉

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  2. The slide idea is hilarious and practical, all at once!
    The pandemic aside, has the world gotten more dangerous or are we all just more aware? I got to have a Halloween once, as you did, as a young one. I think there were surely unsavory characters, but we were safe, that night, at least. I don’t know, I’m just posing the question.

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    1. I’m not sure it was safer but it felt that way. The adults watched out for everyone’s kids like they were their own. If you crashed on your bike someone was going to rush out to see if you were ok and to load you up and take you back home… And you knew all the neighbors.

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  3. Lots of towns in my area are doing a downtown event where the kids gather and people who want to hand out candy can. To me this means crowds and going from home to home would be safer.

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    1. Here the people participating had all the candy at the end of the driveways in little baggies to make it easier to toss it into plastic pumpkins and bags. Others had big bowls and the kids had to help themselves… I agree that the events where there are crowds seem less safe!

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        1. One neighbor had their candy displayed in a big caldron and let the kids take what the wanted. Other neighbors (he was a PE teacher at the elementary school) were playing catch with bags of candy…

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    1. I’d have loved your treats! When we visited my sister in Atlanta on Halloween, her husband was handing out beers to the parents. I’d never seen that done and was shocked. I suppose that made their house a very popular spot…

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  4. I was of an age where I went out by myself. My mother would check everything when I got home and dispose of anything home-made or things like apples unless it came from someone we knew (sometimes there were special treats for “friends” as opposed to strangers who rang the doorbell.) By the time my kids started, no one was giving out home-made things anymore. I usually walked with them, but my youngest was 5 when we moved, so there was always a younger kid that gave me an excuse to talk with them – no decision at what age they could go alone. Up here the big thing is “trunk or treat.” People decorate the trunks of their cars and gather at the school or the fairgrounds and the kids go around from trunk to trunk to collect goodies. I think they are doing a version of trunk or treat this year with some social distancing like putting the candy in a bowl in front of each trunk and letting the kids take it under supervision.

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    1. They hadn’t thought up trunk or treat when I was young and it hadn’t become popular until my sons were past the trick or treat age. We were so young when we were turned loose to go out without parents! I would never have let my sons go alone at that age! It was a different time – no seatbelts, no bike helmets… I’m surprised we survived!

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    1. We didn’t participate for the same reasons – COVID scares me into reducing my exposure. My sister in law has tested positive. It isn’t a surprise since she is a nurse and has been in the thick of things. Now her whole family is in quarantine and she is sick (but not in the hospital – yet). I hope you are safe and stay well. I worry every time I have to venture out – too many stupid and thoughtless people.

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      1. You are right,,Val. All was calm around us when all of sudden I have a sister in law at the hospital wit the Covid and a cousin ill too but at her home. really we are to take care .
        Love ❤
        Michel

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        1. This is it exactly. At first the cases were far away but the circle is getting smaller until we are hemmed in on all sides. I’m hoping that our precautions will keep us safe at least long enough to get a vaccine… We have been careful but with so many within arms reach getting sick we are afraid that we will be next to catch this nasty virus…

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  5. I hated Halloween as a kid — was always dressed too warmly, running around dark neighborhoods that I didn’t know with classmates, doing things I wouldn’t otherwise do! Living alone, I don’t normally open the door at night, and I really believe it teaches the wrong values. I love your idea of a Santa-type cauldron that would overflow overnight!

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    1. I remember wearing a costume made of brocade curtains (it was heavy and very warm) but that was good because it is always sooo cold on Halloween in Indiana! One year my sons went as firemen – the hat and boots and they had rain coats because it was pouring rain. They looked cute and more importantly they stayed dry!

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      1. We were always ghosts or white witches, with costumes made of a sheet. But the warmth came underneath, in layers that we couldn’t remove because they were under the costumes! And this is one of our warmer times of yesr, so it could be 70 or more with two or three sweaters under the sheet! The firemen sound wonderful, and the brocade curtain costume reminds me of Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music! I think we had one group of kids come around this evening, but my downstairs lights were out, so I don’t really know!

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        1. It was sparse in our neighborhood but I think saintvi had about as many as last year. Still she had lots of candy leftover! I can’t figure out why you were wearing so many layers under your costume… Was there a reason?? One year we had a couple of teens come wearing skimpy costumes and they were freezing! But I guess the allure of free candy was enough to suffer the cold…

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    1. I noticed that none of the kids was out alone. Even some of the older ones were accompanied by an adult. And they weren’t in big groups either – just the family all together. If nothing more it has resulted in more family togetherness!

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  6. lights out tomorrow night. Taking bags of candies to three neighbors who have kids and for my little grandchildren. That’s it. And, I have done this for a couple of three years.

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    1. We haven’t participated in handing out candy for some time too. Instead we usually have other activities planned. I suppose if I had grandchildren I’d have something special just for them…

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  7. I don’t “do” Hallowe’en. It’s impractical because of my dogs. I don’t know what kids are planning to do this year — the kids I hang out with are going to have a kind of party in their garage with stuffed animals I think. Their mom has made costumes for all the Beanie Babies and Winnie the Pooh.

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    1. I’d love to see that party with the Beanie Babies all in costume! That sounds like a much safer way to have Halloween. Ranger didn’t mind Halloween as long as there weren’t any fireworks! Of course he was just happy to be able to see all the activity. But I get it with 2 dogs that aren’t so chill with strangers on their doorstep.

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        1. I think the innovation is great this year – most of the time it was all about the costumes but this time around it was about candy delivery and “alternative” forms of celebration… I’d love to see the beanies in costume for the awww factor.

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  8. Thanks for reminding me of the days of our childhood when we made our own costumes from cardboard, duct tape, and old clothing in grandma’s attic. We helped form popcorn balls that my friend’s mom made from scratch. When the big night came, we couldn’t wait for dusk! And the next day we swapped Smartees for KitKats and Tootsie Rolls for bubble gum and tried our hardest to ration our stash to see who could make it last the longest. I NEVER won that one.

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    1. I hated the Mary Janes and peanut butter kisses. Tootsie rolls weren’t high on my list either. I would trade 3 for 1 to get any black jelly beans! If I was lucky I’d swap for Necco wafers and butterscotch hard candy. I was the queen of rationing. I’d make my Halloween candy last until Christmas, the Christmas candy last until Easter, and the Easter candy for as long as possible.

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  9. I made sure that we ate dinner in the dark last night so that no children would knock upon our door. At the end of dinner, I was reminded that our local trick or treat is tonight. Spouseman says he’s buying candy to give out. Ok, then. I am not.
    I read an interesting something somewhere that basically complained that we’re teaching our children a loss mindset. They don’t get to celebrate Halloween in the way they deserve. The suggestion was that we redirect that thinking and create new ways to celebrate.
    My new way to celebrate is by not. I’m exhausted by past Halloweens. I retire.

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    1. Yay for you Carrie! My husband continued to pass out candy for several years after I had said “enough.” He now admits that I was right and that our participation is no longer warranted. We turned off the lights and left the house to spend the evening with a friend in the traditional Chili dinner and movie (Young Frankenstein). Loved it! We had a lot of fun and there wasn’t any angst about not passing out candy!

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  10. My two-year old grandson “trick or treated” in his own house this year. He got to knock on each bedroom and bathroom door then go in and get the treat that was waiting for him and add it to his bag. Twice. Being two, he thought that was great.
    Most houses in our neighborhood didn’t do halloween this year, but the ones who did seemed to be concerned with safety. Most set up tables at the end of their driveway with the treats laid out individually, then they sat back up on their porches and watched as the kids took one. One house had a rope strung across their lawn, about three feet high, with candy bars attached to it with clothespins. I thought that was clever!

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  11. For the first time in eight years, I did not give out candy. I regard the rising cases of COVID in our state as too risky a backdrop. Many of the people on the streets last night were from Phoenix (where the numbers are horrific) and California (where there has been a slight drop in cases, but still of concern). I went to places where I could be masked when necessary and distant from people, otherwise. I am determined to reach 7-OH, without a hitch!

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