Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Haters

I'm very disappointed about Halloween this year. The community where Blondie and I live has effectively banned trick-or-treating. I did not have one trick-or-treater last night.

Some local Halloween haters "officially" changed the trick-or-treat night in our town to Oct. 30, and then immediately discouraged people from trick-or-treating at all. Instead of going trick-or-treating on the "official" trick-or-treat night, local families were encouraged to attend an event co-sponsored by the town and church where costume options were limited to a western theme.

I think it's completely fine for any church to have a Hallelujah Festival, especially on a Sunday evening, but was it really necessary to move Halloween and then have the cowboy contest on the same night?

I do understand the risk of allowing young children to trick-or-treat in places where parents don't know the neighbors and are unsure of their children's safety after dark. However, if children are old enough to walk around town alone after dark, they're probably too old to be trick-or-treating. One special thing about Halloween when I was growing up is that my dad always took us, and we didn't go to houses where we didn't know the residents. What responsible parent allows their child to trick-or-treat alone anyway? Most of the youngsters who come to my door on Halloween a.) know me, b.) arrive before dark, and c.) are accompanied by their parents. This is not a community where trick-or-treating is dangerous.

As for the shenanigans that are supposedly prevented by church sanctioned Halloween events, do you really think that's an effective way to prevent vandalism? No teenager is going to bring out the toilet paper and shaving cream until after sundown. The kids who cause trouble after dark on Halloween may go to the citywide celebration, but I would bet a dollar that the costume contest was over before dark and there was still plenty of time to cause a little mischief before curfew. And for the most part, it's just that: mischief. No, I wouldn't knowingly allow my teenager to participate and I was too much of a goody-two-shoes to do it when I was that age, but is it really hurting anyone? Doubtful. The actual juvenile delinquents aren't going to deterred by a citywide Halloween diversion.

With the recent closure of the public school in our community, the church has become increasingly involved with community activities, so I do think there were good intentions behind this event. I just think the approach is ineffective. Activities co-sponsored by the town and the church are intended to make people feel welcome, but I think it makes people who are not part of this particular church feel even more separate.

Halloween doesn't have to be evil or sinister. It's nothing more than a fun time for kids (and maybe some adults) to dress up in silly costumes and solicit their neighbors for free candy. If you don't like Halloween, leave your porch light off. But please don't cancel Halloween for the rest of us!