When I was growing up, Halloween was something the whole town looked forward to every fall. We got to wear our costumes to school and after school a herd of mine and my brothers friends would pile into the back of my Dad's truck and come home with us so that we could all go Trick-Or-Treating together. I have so many great memories of those nights and the crazy amounts of candy we came home with after Dad took us all around town. Dad knew all the great stops - my favorites were the lady with the homemade popcorn balls and the man with the king sized chocolate bars. It's sad that these days all homemade treats get an immediate meeting with the trashcan. Times were just simpler when I was a kid.
One year I was Rapunzel and my long locks dragged the ground ALL around town and raked up every leaf in every yard. It got so heavy that it was falling off my head and my friends carried it around like a bride's train. What great friends I have! My brother and I would trick or treat with pillow cases and those things would be filled up to the brim! We had candy for months. When we got home, we would dump our piles of candy in the floor and divide them into categories: chocolate, hard candy, gummy candy, etc. I don't know why we got such pleasure from this, but there was something about seeing all that candy sorted out that made us ridiculously happy. Halloween candy truly is a child's treasure.
When we thought of Halloween, there were only two things that we ever associated it with: Costumes and Candy. We never celebrated with ghosts or ghouls, blood or gore - those things were completely left out of the equation in my family. My Mom shielded us from the "scary" stuff and the creep aisles in the stores, and the scary movies were always out of the question. It was simply about fun - NOT spooks.
I have several friends who choose not to let their kids dress up and trick or treat, and I completely respect that. My husband grew up only going a couple of times because of the halloween reputation. For us, as parents, we are choosing to let our child(ren) participate in the dressing up and candy seeking, like I did as a child, but I think it's important to emphasize that this is not a "holiday" that we observe like the other holidays - simply a fun evening of dress up and sugar. We even call it "Trick or Treat" instead of Halloween, and yes, I have done plenty of "guarding" from the spooky things this year. Yuck!
Did you grow up trick or treating? Do you let your children?