Here is an excerpt from my journal entry dated November 1, 1971…
went out for Halloween last night with younger sister. last time ever I am pretty sure. at 12 years old… it must be time. weather was perfect. cold and foggy. the ground was musty with fallen leaves and rot. dressed as a gypsy. mom and sisters creation. no idea what a gypsy is. firecrackers and fireworks everywhere. pipe bomb exploded about 100 feet away from me. wow. cool. got home at around 8. went back out for long walk because this was the last one for me. feeling grown up.
In 2008 no one lets a 12 year old out with his 8 year old sister to trick or treat. At least not in this urban jungle. And I wonder why. Is it really that dangerous out there? It was way more dangerous in the late sixties when I was a kid… and I was taking myself out trick or treating by the time I was 7 or 8. And I guess I was pretty savvy by the time I was 8. On Halloween one knew where and what to avoid. The houses that felt dark and creepy were to be avoided. We knew who the creeps were – and there were not a lot of them. Even in the 60’s we knew enough not to accept anything that was not wrapped – yes, even then. Now I think we are too cautious and too concerned about threats that do not actually exist.
And I am not suggesting that you send your children out alone – we should`nt have been out alone – there should have been an adult or a teen with us – but they were slightly different times.
Now kids are paraded through malls stopping in individual stores to collect treats! What happened to meeting the neighbors? What happened to original costumes created from imaginative minds. When I was 12 I went out in an outfit that my older sister and mother cooked up. At 11 I was a greaser from the 50`s. That was a stretch! At 10 I was a vampire. At 9 I was a ghost… and yea, there was a sheet involved. Complex or not, we did something creative with homegrown ingredients. Now people shop at Walmart for togs made in China that contain enough melamine to kill a horse… made by children that have never heard of Halloween.
I cannot believe I have actually reached the point in my life when I am using the phrase… “When I was 12…”
Happy Halloween. Be safe.