Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat?

Back when I was a kid--and when my children were trick or treating, there were a few conscientious souls who tried to provide "healthy" treats. On the whole, they were not appreciated by the kids. In reality, Halloween, Easter and Christmas were the three times of year candy and sweets were allowed. Generally, the rest of the year was all about good nutrition.

I suspect that's one of the reasons childhood obesity was much rarer back then. The other reason was...exercise. The kids went outside in the morning and played until dark. Again, TV was a limited treat. And of course, who knew about video games? Games? A game was baseball, kickball, tetherball, and occasionally football or soccer. In the deep of winter we might play Monopoly or Sorry.

When my children were teenagers, little trick or treaters started using pillowcases as their treat bags. I don't fool myself that it was the kid's idea. That had greedy parents written all over it.

Now--in my area at least--trick or treating is pretty much a thing of the past. If two or three kids show up at our door, that's a lot. This year? Zip. Not one kid. Parents are finding other things to do with their kids.

The dress-up costume is still popular, but now the kids wear them to the mall where the stores pitch small promo items in the kids bag. It addresses all possible needs. The stores get inexpensive promotion. The kids find small gimmicky toys in their bags instead of candy. And everyone is safe because they're not out walking up to strangers' doors begging for a treat.

As a matter of fact, most parents I know toss the entire bag of candy in the trash, rather than risk a weirdo poisoning their kids. And once that's taken care of, they provide their own "treats".

I guess we've come full circle. And the day's not far off when the kids will indeed get something like a toothbrush for trick or treat.


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  1. I know what you mean. We always skipped the houses that gave away raisins or 'healthy' snacks. My sis liked the caremal apples; not me. To this day, it's gotta be candy bars or sweet tarts. Three times a year we were allowed to eat as much as we wanted; the rest went into the candy bowl and usually a month later mom tossed the unwanted suckers or hard candies.

    We had a downtown T-o-Tr, and the majority gave away tootsie rolls and flyers. Two hours later, my kids went around the neighborhood and came back with 'better' candy:) Unfortunately, despite my attempts to hold onto what little we had to give away, word got out we had 'good' candy and by 7:30 pm, it was all gone. Where's that bag I stashed back for ourselves....?

  2. I remember the Halloween of my childhood quite fondly and it makes me a little sad that my own kids don't get that experience. But they can't miss what they never had and they seem happy enough as things are.

    Their school had a fair on Thursday night. Otherwise, my kids were limited to trick or treating in our apt building and one neighbor gave away bananas. In my day, that would have earned her some eggs at her door! Loosen up and give the kids a real treat! Since I knew we wouldn't have that many come to our door, I gave out candy bars :)

  3. Our next door neighbors always gave out apples. I could get apples at home. What I couldn't get was candy. LOL

    Trick or treating was fun back then. You took your pumkin from door-to-door with your friends and got candy. Simple pleasures.