It’s Halloween, and that means that by the Frankly Curious Terms of Service, I am required to say: Halloween is my favorite holiday. But the truth is that I am being let down by our society. Halloween could be so much better!
When I was a kid, it was so much better. I remember being on the street with my parents and there being kids everywhere. And then, starting in the late 1960s, every year the local news reported on how dangerous the holiday supposedly was. People gave out candy with poison and razor blades! Most of this was folklore.
What’s more, in as much as it was true, it was based on the folklore. For example, most of the razor blade stories seem to be children putting razor blades in apples and then showing what they “found” in their apples to their parents. And the cases of poisonings have been people murdering children and trying to make it look like some random act. Sick, but hardly the fault of Halloween or, more to the point, society.
Social Decay and the End of Halloween
And that’s the problem with the holiday: we’ve lost the necessary social cohesion to make the holiday great.
For the last several years, the only trick-or-treat child I get is the little boy who lives across the street. And I have been giving out regular-sized bars for a couple of decades. Kids really should want to come to my house!
I understand the fear of parents. Just the same, so much is lost. What’s more, those parents could protect their children by getting to know their neighbors. That’s part of the same thing. It’s all about fear of these unknown people.
Now, I understand that this is hard to do. And our economic situation is a big part of it. We now live in a nation that requires both parents to work. A large fraction of the nation is far too busy just getting by to spend time getting to know the neighbors. And income inequality puts barriers between people. So my disappointment is not focused on how individuals act but on how our society forces them to act.
Still, it sucks. Some of my best memories of my second marriage are our Halloween events. We loved decorating the place. I was always big on creating ghosts — probably because they are the most friendly of scary things. And now, I find I can’t even bother. It was easier with a partner. Even if no kids showed up, at least we had fun with it.
There’s a price to pay for our lack of trust in each other. It’s about more than a holiday — even one as gloriously silly as Halloween.