The Startling Decline of Trick-or-Treating In The City And Why That Means More Candy For Me.
Halloween has become a weird holiday. I enjoy the idea of dressing up in costumes and going out into the crazy while playing the part of something else. However, I can't help but notice how different the holiday is for the city kids of today. My general impression is that so much of the fun of it all has been removed for the young as fear and paranoia over the evils of society have taken a deeper and deeper hold.
Recently I was at a grocery store, doing the usual grocery store things. Which for me is quickly going through the aisles that had things I needed, grabbing them and moving on so I could leave the damn place as soon as possible. The whole idea of being in a grocery store makes me nervous. I pay way too much attention to the placement of my cart and others coming down the aisle. That is until I don't and someone has to get by but my cart is an inch too far into the aisle and blocking the other cart from getting by, or stopped right in front of the area that someone else needs to grab an item from, so in the end, I always become the asshole in my own head. Then there's the times I'm trying to get by a busy aisle myself and I have to make the decision to say something, sit and wait, or come back later when it isn't all that busy, and if that doesn't happen, debate my need for that pasta dish I had in mind but will likely not cook since I can't microwave it and I'm lazy. Then there is the whole checkout mess and not knowing what you are going to be dealing with there. Which line is the quick line? What are the chances you get stuck behind the thrifty couponer or price matcher? I shouldn't be mad at them, they are doing a great thing by saving quite a lot of money, but dammit, I want to leave and be okay with being selfish. Plus, I'm jealous of their determination and confidence to ignore the sour looks of impatience by all those waiting to get checked out and get far away from this damn place as possible.
I think I lost the original intent of that story... So, I was at a grocery store recently and my Wife saw the Halloween candy. She is of course excited by the upcoming festivities, as is acceptable, and suggested that we should get some bags of sugary things since that day is coming up soon. We hadn't made plans or anything for that day, but Halloween has become a great time to stock up on candy for ourselves since we are pretty certain very few kids will show up, so most of that candy will be ours and we can be like "oh, well, I guess we have to eat it all now. Yay!" It is a good excuse, much like most other holidays are just an excuse to get super drunk in public.
While I still enjoy the idea of Halloween at heart, the changes and desperation to hold on to tradition in a changing society sort of saddens me.
I can vividly remember loving Halloween as a kid and I still enjoy it as an adult, but for different reasons. As a kid though, the fun of it was the trick-or-treating itself. More the treating, I wasn't really into the tricking, too nervous of a child to do anything that would get me in big trouble. I'd save that for my teenage years, where the tricking would still be minimal. The majority of my childhood was spent in California, so I've mostly only experienced life in the city and don't have much contextual knowledge of small town or suburban living. I still remember going out with just some friends my age and no one much caring about it. We felt safe knocking on strangers doors, getting comments on our costumes, and inevitably being disappointed by a shitty sucker, one bite sized whatever the fuck, or that one bitch that gave us an apple and a toothbrush. That one lady was always a damn dentist too, which from a business stand-point is kind of dumb. Wouldn't you want to give kids teeth ruining treats in order to increase your customer base? This is America dammit! Tricks and underhanded business practices are what make us great! Ask Comcast, they get it.
What I'm saying is that entitlement is not a new trait in society, it has existed for all of time. At least all of my time, though probably all of time too. I'm also saying that the lack of trick-or-treaters enjoying the nighttime costumed frolicking through their neighborhoods is a bit saddening to see. At least in big cities, the kids that go out at night on Halloween, or out around their neighborhoods in general has become virtually non-existent. Even in nice neighborhoods, there is barely a visit. Most kids out here get brought to their parent's place of business if they are doing a Halloween thing, or in large public sectors like a city square or a mall. Rarely do people get to know their neighbors and trust that their kids will be safe meeting them for snack foods on a holiday where giving costumed kids snack foods is part of the tradition.
Yet still, we hang on to our old ideals and hopes to see cute costumed mini-people coming to our doors, begging for morsels of sweet treats, and unlike that damn dentist bitch, we want to give them handfuls of candy, so they remember us for being awesome. We want to make up for those that pissed us off in the past with their petty offerings, but now we don't have that chance!
I can say something like, I wonder why that is? Yet, I believe I touched on that a bit. We have become so protective of our children and scared of society, that the idea of letting kids out on their own where so many people are dressed up is scary as fuck. Even though scary costumes has become passé and replaced with colorful, sexy, cute, funny, or ironic costumes (a topic for another day?). We are told time and time again how dangerous the outside world is. It pretty much comes off as irresponsible to continue tradition and allow our children to wander their neighborhoods or go hunting for the rich neighborhoods where folks hand out full sized candy bars. Remember that shit? Remember that house that handed out full size candy bars? They became saints and word would spread fast among costumed strangers of the mystical knightly gentlemen or elegant lady giving us king sized Snickers. All hail the king size!
I don't like this shift towards total distrust and fear, it is stifling and makes a community an impossible thing to achieve. Community and togetherness creates a safe environment for us all, yet fear and the perceived need to cast a tight net over our family units trumps the possibilities of that occurring.
Until then, at least that means my Halloween nights are free these days and I can dress up in whatever I like, go out into a public area and party with scantily clad sexy whatevers and that one dude who came as Sharknado. Then I get to come home and binge on all the candy I didn't hand out since no kids showed up. I like candy and sexy people wearing barely anything. Halloween is still cool, for adults at least.