Halloween conjures images of pillow sacks and plastic pails overflowing with brightly wrapped toffees, multi-hued rolls of Rockets, cherished miniature chocolate bars and—oh drat—generic wrappings of mysterious homemade concoctions containing peanuts, popcorn, caramel or even all three.
It is, as comedian Jerry Seinfeld mused in one of his more renowned monologues, a concept so fantastic the average kid brain can’t quite comprehend its magnificence.
Of course, there’s no such thing as free candy.
To realize such a bounty kids have to dress up, take on an alternate identity that licenses them to knock on strangers’ doors and demand handouts.
That’s where the stress comes in.
Will the costume be scary or funny? Will it be simple, collated from odds and ends of clothing already stashed in closets or drawers? Or will it be more elaborate, the fruit of an excursion to the costume shop, thrift store, or a particularly talented and crafty sewer? And how can the costume be adapted should it rain? Or snow?
Of course in recent years fears for kids’ safety on darkened streets has turned Halloween into a more organized affair. Malls host trick-or-treating in a warm, dry, controlled environment. Adults convene parties for their costumed charges. Schools host dress-up parades.
Fewer trick-or-treaters at the front door means those leftover little boxes of Smarties will populate adult bag lunches for weeks to come.
While the way we celebrate Halloween may be changing, the human need to celebrate the departed in a fun, cathartic way endures. After all we’ve been doing it since Christians first marked All Saints’ Day in 609 AD, which some say was the origin of Halloween.
Regardless, have a happy, safe one.
– Black Press