It is so cold today I wonder what the night is going to be like. We bought so much candy because it is my younger daughter's first trick or treat! At night we will all dress up as characters that we like or fear in order to scare others into wanting to give us candy and a conversation.
Halloween should be a holiday. On this day kids and parents walk up and down the streets asking for a treat from neighbors who usually have carved pumpkins that have candles inside to let others know that they could stop by for a treat, if lucky. Some families light bonfires to celebrate not being pranked. It is a celebratory event with games, visiting haunted attractions. Sometimes others watch horror movies in order to celebrate this very previously unknown ritual which has turned into full blown retail sales.
In stores, if you are not in a hurry you can look around and see Cashiers and employees in stores who usually are demure would, on this day be in outrageous costumes.
There almost always will be a ton of shoppers and nit picking children trying desperately to decide which costume to buy or what character to be for Halloween.
Restaurants have started serving themed food which will mock the obsession with death and death like rituals. Some bakers make body parts out of pastries which many find to be funny and fun to eat.
My kids are young and do not understand the meaning of this very family celebration which is also a public event. Malls also allow shoppers to stop in for a trick or treat. I am yet to be tricked. I and my kids always get treats and we give treats too if we are home. Once we stopped at a neighbor's house for a trick or treat, alas, there were piles and piles of pizzas, but no-one was home! The door was open. If you enter the house, you would see boxes and boxes of candy and drinks with simmering smoke like a cauldron brew. On the walls were hosts made of skeletal plastic bones which also had smoke coming out of their mouths. Haunting music underscored the movements of all that trotted in the house and masks made of plastic which I bet were remote controlled or used some form of batteries, whistled to those who entered. Who knows for sure, what the whistling was about right?
My kids were taken aback by this and we had to stop and let them wonder, touch and feel what seemed to be a haunted house with plastic ghosts and brew. There was even a soul in this house. We did not even know who lived there. We ate their pizza and packed our totes that we carried around to fill our treats with candy.
An hour passed and then entered a scary looking tall man in a fox costume. With a scary voice he said "Move along, Move along we have more visitors streaming in."
the kids were so scared they flew out of that house and parents some, with strollers, had to rush out to identify their kids in the commotion. With pizzas on one hand and candy on the other kids felt scared enough but also wanted more and more of such treats.
The streets are always crowded at this time and it usually lasts the whole night. Even if the kids are going to school the following morning, they still insist on combing the neighborhoods.
The sugar high is never something that a parent enjoys to watch as kids douse themselves with candy, skipping dinner or breakfast because sugar is usually okay on this night of all nights which must be knighted as a holiday, Halloween!
When I was younger, a stranger with many kids following her waltzed on our streets asking for tricks or treats! I remember being so afraid because then I did not know what Halloween was about. I was so scared at the masks that the kids and the adults wore. The candy that they carried and the sounds that they made as they were also making others feel scared, were confusing to me. It is a childish event. If a dentist could ask everyone to skip this day, I am sure candy would be added on the list of do not eat list because from a young age we are all told that too much candy will make our teeth rot.
The day after a Halloween night is so hectic because there would be scores of candy wraps and costumes that some leave behind. The hustling and bustling from the night before suddenly become ancient and it becomes eerily silent.
And if you stop at the party supply stores which was brimming with customers the night before as costumes rush to buy costumes and candy, suddenly the store feels vague and a bore. Yet the costumes which might have frightened hanging on the wall the night before, still gaze at you as if they are asking if you want some more. Cashiers return to their old habits no longer in costumes unknown or in characters.
It is amazing how groups can agree to do the same thing at the same time. Once done it is as if whatever the group was involved in, never happened.
It is the same with Christmas. Everyone agrees that on a given date certain rituals shall take place. How does it help to have a day set aside for candy? It is a dreamy time for children and can be scary for adults especially if kids choose costumes of frightening characters like serial killers or slayers of the night who supposedly hunt for demons that can visit the dark side of our psyche. Indeed it might also challenge Christian values as if one is exposing oneself to evil if not for a moment. I have wondered about that if at all such images disturb the goodness in all of us and what we strive for when we raise our children. Are we celebrating death, the dead, witchcraft because of the way some costumes make us behave. Or it is just candy land and may all who get treats: "Be wise and be prosperous"