Published on the Doomstead Diner on October 31, 2015
Discuss this article at the Kitchen Sink inside the Diner
For the first time since I was a kid, I have been a small part of the modern invention of the "Trick or Treat" Halloween canvassing for Candy by the kiddies. This time of course as the old guy who hands out the Candy, not the kid going door to door to receive it.
Trick or Treat in the way I experienced it mostly died out for a lot of reasons. One was all the nasty stories about Evil People who would slip Razor Blades into Apples, that sort of thing. Then of course all the Child Molesters out there ready to kidnap the Candy Seekers.
Probably the most disruptive to the whole paradigm though was the way the Suburbs got built out. It's just too far to walk in many suburbs for kids to collect up a reasonable bag full of candy! In my old neighborhood in Queens, there were hundreds of McHovels within a few blocks, not to mention a few apartment buildings. So in a few hours, you could easily fill up your candy bag. I did this form of Halloween Celebration from the time I returned from Brazil at the age of 10 until I was maybe 12. 2-3 years of this before I outgrew it.
Then there was a year of the "Trick" portion of this as a young teen, going out and TPing somebody's front lawn or throwing a few eggs. I think I only did that for one Halloween celebration at age 13 or so. After that, it was mostly Halloween Costume Parties, which went well into my 20s-early 30s. As I have mentioned here, this is where I developed my Indiana Jones Fashion Statement, I think I dressed up as Indiana for around 6 years of costume parties.
Anyhow, the new digs I moved into are compact enough that kids can walk around and collect up a reasonable amount of candy, and so my doorbell has been ringing fairly regularly over the course of the evening here. I'm handing out Reese's Pieces, because if I have leftovers I like the Peanut Butter Cups myself.
Difference from when I was a kid? Not a single one of these Trick or Treaters was unaccompanied by an adult chaperone. Nobody lets their kids go out ringing the doorbells of strangers by themselves anymore. I can't imagine walking around with my mother behind me at every McHovel I asked for candy. You certainly can't pull off the "Trick" of trick or treat if somebody doesn't cough up the Candy if you have Mom with you! lol.
Now, what does "Trick or Treat" teach the child growing up? It teaches you that EXTORTION is a cool way to derive profit! lol. Either the old guy pays the Protection Money in the form of Candy, or he will get Egged and TPed! We have been doing Trick or Treat down in MENA on the grand scale for decades here, but that one is playing out also. Instead of Candy, the "Treat" is oil, instead of Eggs the "Trick" is Smart Bombs!
Another solution to the Trick or Treat problem for the suburbanites has been to organize up Trick or Treat get togethers at the local Church or Boys & Girls Club, etc. I've never been to one of these things in action, but basically all the parents bring candy and the kids go from parent to parent to get their bags filled, then they have Pizza & Ice Cream and maybe show a Scary Movie, but not too scary of course since you don't want terrified 6 year olds leaving the property psychologically damaged and open yourself up to a lawsuit. lol.
Along with regular Trick or Treat dying out, another thing that died out was "Trick or Treat for UNICEF". This was a UN promotional gimmick and instead of going out Trick or Treating for candy for YOURSELF, you were supposed to go out and collect pennies in your UNICEF box to send to starving kids in India, or somewhere. Selfish scumbag that I was, I never Trick or Treated for UNICEF. lol.
Anyhow, it was a bit nostalgic tonight handing out the Reese's Pieces to the Trick or Treaters. Reminded me of a more innocent time that is mostly gone now, and like the factory jobs in Bruce Springsteen's "My Hometown", it ain't ever coming back. But for one more Halloween here on the Last Great Frontier, it did for me.