Halloween has become one of the biggest holidays of the year.  Back in my day, we dressed up in simple costumes (gypsy, ghost, hobo) or wore the cheap ones from the dime store with the funny mask, grabbed a pillow case and ran up and down the streets trick or treating.  My grandmother had candy corn in a dish through Thanksgiving – a sure sign it was fall.  After a certain age, we didn’t need our parents with us and ran for blocks, filling our case and coming home for another one. We had sacks of candy (full size bars), popcorn balls, and carmel apples hidden under our beds for weeks.  Nobody worried about poison from the neighbors and nobody worried about us getting grabbed off the streets.  Sometimes there would be a party with bobbing for apples, cider, popcorn and snacks.  I don’t remember ever seeing an adult in costume unless a rare one dressed up as a witch with a caldron of dry ice steaming at the door.

My, how it has changed!  By the time my kids were big enough to go out, there were more decorations than just the construction paper cut outs we made.  I dreaded the costumes since that really wasn’t one of my strengths, but we muddled through.  Occasionally there was a costume party with our friends.  In our neighborhood, the dads went out with the kids and you could see them in the streets laughing, drinking a beer, watching the kids run up and down while the moms opened the doors with treats, waving to all.  Then that first bit of aspirin was found in candy and people started having private parties and strangers started bringing their kids from the “unsafe” neighborhoods to the nicer ones for treats so we didn’t know who was at the door.  That was ok since treats were getting more expensive and I understood those parents wanting to give their kids a better experience with less worry.  I was sad when my mother started turning off her lights and pretending she wasn’t home for fear of the big kids who came to the door long after the trick or treating should have ended.  It was a new era and Halloween had gotten a little scarier.

By the time I opened my gift shop in 1992, the Halloween phenomenon was an explosion.  Decorations were getting pretty fancy and adult parties were the norm.  Costumes were more elaborate and the kids I had handed treats were not wanting to stop dressing up.  Parties in bars, parties at churches, parties in neighborhoods…Halloween was everywhere!  The candy companies got smart and learned the power of packaging with treat sizes and holiday themed wrappers.  Smart business!  What an array of treat choices we have today with the greatest danger being buying them too early and then having to get more when you realize you have eaten them all way before the holiday.

I still get a kick out of the kids coming to the door.  They’re always polite, sometimes shy, sometimes bold.  Great costumes. Their parents come right up to the door these days…hovering over the kids.  That part is a little sadder.  Some of the fun is gone for the kids…but, that’s just my opinion.  It’s still a great holiday and I love that it’s enjoyed by all ages!  Have a Happy Halloween, come by my house for treats, and be safe out there!Scan 6