The Cheerleader I Live With and I were talking about Halloween over the weekend, reminiscing about our childhoods, and how much fun the night of October 31st was. We could both remember boatloads of kids swarming the streets with their pillowcases half-full of candy, racing each other to the next front door. There would be small knots of parents at the top of the driveways, watching their princesses and Ghostbusters scream at open doors, while they huddled around a flask of something that kept the chills and ghouls away. My mom was the one who stayed home usually, while my dad took us out and about. That was totally fine by me because he was always good enough to eat the stupid boxes of raisins that got tossed into my bag by the well-meaning meanies.

Someone always gave out raisins. Someone gave out apples. A few people who were late home from work just tossed pennies into our pillowcases (which worked for me because we lived right beside a candy store), and every once in a while there was a twist-tied baggy of popped popcorn that mom wouldn’t let us eat. There was always a group of no-good teenagers that were out to steal your candy, and you could always rely on getting hit with a bottle rocket once you started running from them. Good times!

The worst part about Halloween in Canada is when it rains and/or snows on that night, and you have to wear a jacket over your costume. That totally wrecks everything! My mom used to put our coats UNDER our costumes, and I used to think that was even worse. Being a kid sucked sometimes: either I cover up my costume, I go out looking ridiculously fat, or I don’t go out at all. Booooooo!! My mom worked damn hard on this costume, and how the hell am I supposed to make the other kids jealous when they can’t even see how awesome I look!?

*sigh*…it’s all so different today. Kids get dressed up still, yeah, but it’s usually in those amazing, store-bought costumes which you only used to see on Halloween episodes of sitcoms. What happened to the home-made, hand-me-down dog costumes where your mom had to paint a black nose and whiskers on your face? One year my brother went as a Garbage Pail Kid, (the same year I went as a bigger version of my Cabbage Patch Kid… my brother is a big stupid jerk face), and basically had my mom pin wadded up wrappers and other pieces of garbage to his clothes. Now THAT was a homemade costume.

But… it’s all changed now. I guess in order to ensure that their kids don’t get hit by bottle rockets, don’t get their candy stolen by gangs of marauding teenagers, don’t get exposed to adult drinking, don’t get too scared, and don’t have to cover up their $150 costumes, parents these days play it safe. TOO safe. In my neck of the woods, parents take their kids to the mall for trick-or-treating on Halloween now. Well, unless the mall is closed that day, then they go on the Saturday before Halloween. Boooooooo!!

What’s happened to us? We’ve become so over-protective that we don’t bother to let our kids experience things. How can it be Halloween when you aren’t walking around in the dark of night, under the lingering smell of exploded fire crackers, while playing tradesies with your friends in the middle of the road?

Now it’s all messed up. Kids run full-tilt into Nine West and The Gap, grab a lollipop from the bowl by the door, toss it into the tiny orange pumpkin bucket that their mom holds for them, and then run along to the next candy bowl. Pfffft. That’s not Halloween.

It makes me sad. Halloween memories are some of my best memories! Humpf.

We’re all wusses now…

Happy Hallowuss.