Halloween – Then and Now

Then…

Growing up, we lived in the perfect neighborhood to Trick-or-Treat in.  An idyllic neighborhood full of young families and scads of kids, during a time when neighbors were actually neighborly.  Us kids would get all excited about dressing up and going from house-to-house to see how much candy we could collect (and how much we could sneakily eat before we got back to our own house). 

The four of us would dump our loot out after we got home, sorting through and trading for things we individually liked better, and of course having trouble falling asleep from the major sugar high we experienced from the surreptitiously eaten candy.

Our costumes were always homemade and creative – my mom could use her sewing machine like nobody’s business, and whatever we came up with, she was able to create.  As we got older, we had to make our own costumes – I for one enjoyed being able to make something from nothing and actually have it work out (thanks, Mom, for all the sewing techniques I learned from you!) 

As we got older, we’d still dress up (especially if we were going to a costume party), but the ‘magic’ of going door-to-door was lessened by the cool factor – or lack thereof.  Instead, we’d dress up and help my parents hand out candy to all the kids knocking on our door. 

We used to keep track of how many people stopped by, I remember one year the count was 500.  Five Hundred.  It’s not like our neighborhood was huge, though the surrounding fields were slowly filling up with houses and apartments. And young families with kids.

The subsequent years showed a decline in the number of Halloween visitors – particularly after all the crazy people were poisoning and putting horrible things in the candy.  The count kept dwindling year after year, until suddenly there were no more cute little kids trick-or-treating at our door anymore.  Of course just as we had outgrown the fun, so had all the other kids in the neighborhood and beyond.  There simply weren’t any small kids in the area anymore.

Now…

Now it seems that store-bought costumes are the way to go – and I have to admit I was glad Princess Nagger chose to dress up as an Angry Bird so I wouldn’t have to spend hours creating a Princess Zelda costume as the original choice was going to be.  But I’ll not be getting out of that one next year (though it’s quite possible I’ll have to come up with a dragon or Velociraptor creation…as long as she gives me plenty of notice and doesn’t change her mind 50-million times).

Another difference in the ‘now’ is we don’t happen to live in an idyllic neighborhood conducive to trick-or-treating.  We don’t actually live in a neighborhood, just a long busy rural road that is not safe to walk from house-to-house on, and there aren’t any small kids (aside from our own) for the entire rural stretch of pavement. 

So we do what any self-respecting parent would do…we drive to an idyllic neighborhood and blend in with the other trick-or-treat crowds so Princess Nagger (and now Little Dude) will get to experience some of the fun we had when we were kids.

It also seems less and less people are actually enthusiastic about handing out candy in even the most idyllic neighborhood – often we’ll have to skip houses on an entire block, since every front porch light is eerily dark.  Apparently the ‘thing’ to do is go trick-or-treat at a strip mall, for the ‘safety’ factor.  What’s interesting here in PA is that each township will decide which night trick-or-treating will happen – they don’t all do it on Halloween night, like the ‘normal’ thing when I was growing up.  Some townships will have their trick-or-treat night a full week before. 

In addition to that, there’s a specific time-frame – 6:00pm to 8:00pm.  Not a minute sooner, and not a minute later.  I remember we would go out right after dinner, and stay out until almost 10:00 pm (which was our [later] curfew at the time).  More of that ‘safety factor’.  Because the world has gotten much crazier than it used to be.

Which brings me to this weeks question:

How is Halloween different now than it was when you were a kid?

Have a great weekend!

This Halloween comparison was brought to you part by Jen who, as Sprite’s Keeper, will probably have some great comparison stories to tell about Halloween.  Check out the other Spinners – see what kind of Halloween antics they enjoyed as kids or what they’re doing now!

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About Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)

After 20+ years in the Corporate World and years of infertility, Princess Nagger made her miraculous appearance and I chose to become a SAHM and WAHM - I love every minute of it. We added Little Dude through adoption, adding a whole new dimension to our family. We have an eclectic mix of pets: dogs, cats, birds and fish. I love to cook and try new techniques to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Crafty by nature, I take on a lot of unique projects and enjoy seeing the end result. My favorite, of course, is making my own wine out of fruits and grapes. Experiments with water currently underway. I blog about the joys of parenting, family, friends, life, love and anything else that strikes my fancy. I do enjoy doing reviews and giveaways for products I use, believe in and can stand behind.
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35 thoughts on “Halloween – Then and Now

  1. Sorry I haven’t been around that much. The ol’ back is givin me a bit of trouble. Anyway, Halloween when I was a kid was F-U-N & I wasn’t freezing!!! Never had to wear a coat people could actually see my costume for pity sakes! Plus, we did go in a bunch only because it was more fun & my brother had to take me! ~snicker-snicker~ Also, our parents didn’t have to go through our candy of course my mom threw away anything that wasn’t wrapped only because she didn’t know if it was clean or not. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

  2. I stopped handing out candy because the last time I did it, I was trying to give one piece of candy to each child, but kids were just reaching in my bowl and grabbing an entire handful of candy. They weren’t patient or polite. At least we have children in our neighborhood though. One of my friends says they just get crack hoes trick or treating on their street.

    Love,
    Lola

  3. Boy! I remember we ranged far and wide on that night. We got so much candy!! OMG!! We could hardly carry the sack home!!!! Now most kids don’t go door to door! Sad really! Thanks to the crazies, people are worried and nervous! I don’t blame them!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

  4. Your situation sounds a lot like mine. We’re not on a rural road (just a street filled with older people who are afraid to answer the door to strangers). We go to my SILs. It’s not like when we were kids, though.

  5. When I was little, without fail, i was always sick on halloween. Looking back, I think it was probably allergies, but regardless, my mom kept me in. I would still dress up, and she would have me go trick-or-treating throughout the house, with her behind every room’s door…. It was really cute.

    Now, where I live, and have lived for about 7 years, we have NEVER had one trick-or-treater… It is so strange….

  6. I love how our Spins are so similar! But if you have mad sewing skills, then you need to come down here and help me hem my jeans! I don’t want to pay to have them done, but I’m afraid of messing them up.. 🙂
    You’re linked!

  7. You pretty much outlined the differences between how Halloween is different from when I was a kid. It’s sad, really.

  8. YES! My mom actually had my costumes hand made when I was young. They were so awesome! I had forgotten about that. Now it’s all about the latest movie star or animated movie character. Still fun for the kiddos though! 🙂

  9. When I was a kid, Halloween was magical. It was one of only a handful to times per year we were able to have candy. Not like today where kids have access to candy, pop and chips 24/7. Unfortunately, this generation of kids is paying for that constant access to junk food around their waistlines. For us, it was such a treat to have candy for a change.

    Happy Friday!

  10. When I was a kid you knew everyone on your block and could go out by yourself…. I have lived in this neighborhood for over 4 years and know my direct neighbors and definitely would not let my kid (not that she is any where near old enough) go out on her own!!

  11. Oh my how times have changed! You are right., I remember as a child, we used to go out in scary costumes and go door to door. we didnt have to worry and checked the candy when we got home.. it was fun..

    It isnt as fun anymore, now we have trunk or treats- usually at a church. and not many people give out candy anymore.

  12. Halloween is still big in our little town but the police department used to host a Halloween Bash before trick or treating and this is the first year without that so we’ll have to see how that changes the turnout of trick or treaters. I remember trick or treating as a kid they was one lady I loved to go to because she gave out “books”. They were really kids magazines like Highlights but called something else with like 8 stories per issue. Her house was the first place I went each year. I also mad sure to leave her a May basket on each porch each year too. She’s been gone along time, and today I wonder what kids would think about her treats….

    Dollycas
    http://www.escapewithdollycas.com/

  13. When I was a child, my parents weren’t really into Halloween. We did the normal trick or treating in my very small neighborhood but my costumes were almost always store bought and picked at the last minute.
    Now that I have kids, we live in a much larger neighborhood and things are so different. We decorate the house. We host a pre-trick or treating dinner. And we hit so many houses! The kids costumes are still store bought because I am terrible and making that kind of thing but we participate in Halloween a lot more now I think.

  14. That’s such major difference in your then and now.

    I’ve only done halloween for two years since I’ve been here.
    Our kids will dress up and hand out candy. I leave some to surprise them after they think all is gone though, but this year they want to go out.

    So I really don’t have a then and now because I don’t have much history with this day.
    Very interesting to read yours though.

  15. Your Then and Now descriptions are mine exactly. We trick-or-treated all through the neighborhood for hours (and totally knew which houses handed out the full-size candy bars or the cans of soda) and did the whole dump-and-sort afterward. It was great!

    Now, we have maybe a dozen kids come to our door so it almost seems pointless to do it. Due to the number of dark houses mixed in around here my husband does bring the kids over to the next neighborhood (plus the houses there are closer together) and that’s that. I think the kids have more fun at the Halloween parties at school and at friends’ houses!

  16. friends, family were of fun when we were younger the fears of safety that are present now were not back then or not spoke of. It was nothing to go trick or treating by myself so that I could get more candy than with a group.

    come see what I asked at http://shopannnies.blogspot.com

  17. Halloween for my kids now is very similar to the Halloweens I had growing up. We live in a nice, family-oriented neighborhood with lots of trick-or-treaters. We usually do a combination of store-bought and our own put-together costumes.

  18. You’re too funny.
    It seems like everything is way more commercial than it was when we were kids. We were happy with those stupid plastic masks with the elastic band that would always come off it’s staple. I wore glasses which really sucked in those things. Who knows…they bring everything back at some time.

    Have a great weekend!

  19. I’m right there with you – no more little kids around here and no one wanting to deal with getting up off their couches to pass out candy! 🙁
    We have tried the strip mall thing for LO, but it’s always way too crowded and crazy. So, we’ve taken to driving around our area, looking for the most festive streets and bringing our son around to a few houses. It’s so sad! I remember staying out late with our bags so full of loot, we’d have candy for a month! No fear of being poisoned, no fear of being kidnapped, nada! *sigh* These days!

  20. It is certainly more commercialized today than it was when I was a kid. We made our costumes out of what we had on hand, we didn’t buy them. And candy was much less costly so it was readily available. Even more businesses got involved. Today it’s more expensive to participate in for a lot of people.

  21. I heard CT is actually proposing to move Halloween to the last Saturday night in October. That way, the kids can trick or treat and not have to get up for school. 🙂

    I remember popcorn balls and candy apples. We only get about 6 or 8 kids and since we know them all… we’re bringing that tradition back. 🙂

  22. Same for me. We’d go all over our neighborhood and come home with big sacks of candy, and then we’d dump and sort. 🙂 Now, there aren’t many houses that pass out candy. It’s changed a lot just from ten years ago.

  23. That was a really interesting post Stacy. As you might already know, Australians aren’t really into Halloween so I never went Trick or Treating as a kid. I didn’t really get into Halloween until we had been to America and fell in love with everything about the USA! We do celebrate Halloween in our little street and it does seem to be getting bigger each year but everyone is very cautious and we don’t really eat a lot of the candy…I’m a bit of a meanie when it comes to sweets!

    I hope you have a great time and enjoy trick or treating with your family!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha.

  24. Oh, it’s SO much different.

    For one, I grew up in NY. My parents would frive us from house to house because it was so cold. Here in AZ, my kids hate to wear masks because they’re so sweaty!

    We only allow the kids to go to houses they know. We are a little relaxed about checking for razorblades, and a little more vigilant about staying on sidewalks and using flashlights because people around here don’t think twice about flying up and down the streets.
    🙂

  25. Fortunately we live in a small, safe neighborhood where we know most of our neighbors. We trick-or-treat in a big group, the kids have a blast, eat too much candy and stay up too late! Following you from Home Grown Families Friday blog hop:) Hope you stop by my blog.
    btw – Stacy Uncorked is a very cute blog name!
    Kelly
    http://www.savvysuburban.com

  26. Hi! I’m visiting from the Friday Follow 40 and Over Blog Hop. Your blog is awesome! I look forward to getting to know you and learning from each other! I think the idea of an over 40 blog hop is a great idea! I’m your newest follower and I’d love for you to return the favor! Thanks!!

    Bye,
    Lisa
    Life Full of Laughter

  27. I remember getting butt loads of candy as a kid and it was the thing to do as the neighborhood would be flooded with tons of children. I have noticed it slacking off quite a bit over the years. We also drive to another neighborhood. I hope you guys have a great one!

  28. It’s definitely more commercialized and expensive. I remember wearing those costumes that came out of a box and had a plastic mask with an elastic band. 🙂

  29. I really like the American Halloween tradition! Here in Europe it is a lot quieter and we normally just visit cemeteries, put some pumpkins and candles and some the children have their costumes and masks!