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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Monday, November 01, 2004

Come And Knock On Our Door

Maybe it's just the neighborhood where I live, but every year there seems to be less and less trick or treaters. This year we had a whopping zero. Zilch. True, someone could have rung the bell while we were out, but I doubt it.

I mean it's not like we ever did have a lot of trick or treaters. This could be because I do live on a dead end street and as any good trick or treater will tell you, when time is of an essence, dead end streets are really a waste of time.

But the excuse doesn't fly this year considering Halloween fell on a Sunday, a dream day for the avid trick or treater. No homework to worry about. No corny parents concerned about you going out after dark. Hell, it was even a beautiful, sunny day here in NJ.

So why then?

Well, I have a few theories. I think as time goes on, society is catching on to what a truly weird holiday Halloween is. This was starting to be an issue when I was a kid, so I can only imagine it has grown over the years as my generation is starting to HAVE kids. It's all the scary "what if's" they haunted us with growing up:

1. Don't accept any open candy or candy that seems like that it could have been opened at any time. Ever.

2. Don't eat anything like apples or anything like that because they could have razor blades in them.

3. Use the amusement park rule and always stick with your buddy. Always.

As a result of these rules, and a few others, limitations were put in place in order to assure the kids could still treat with far less tricks:

1. Some families just leave the bowl of candy out on their front steps. As a kid, I loved these houses cause you could sneak more than one piece of candy and forego the awkward, "oh aren't you the cutest this or that" conversation. But now I look back and think about how half assed that really is. It's like your kinda, sorta participating in the holiday, but not really.

2. Other families decided to do away with the candy concerns all together and just give out other stuff. Like McDonalds coupons. Or my mom's personal fave, money. These ideas might sound great in theory, but to a kid, they simply aren't tangible enough. You can't go home and rip open a McDonald's Coupon and at age five you don't care how many quarters you earned. You'd much rather have that damn Baby Ruth to keep you warm at night.

3. Parents started tagging along. Part of the fun of Halloween was getting the chance to wander the streets aimlessly with your friends. On no other day of the year was this appropriate. But, then parents started catching on and even this day was off limits. And so now you see 12 year old kids with moms or dads in tow which equals, so not cool in preteen speak.

Instead of getting rid of Halloween as we know it completely, I am seeing a turn towards making Halloween a more adult holiday. So many adults love having Halloween parties: getting dressed up, getting trashed and hooking up with Sponge Bob Square Pants. Sure, the kids might get the candy, but the adults want the escape. I guess you could say Halloween is evolving. It's either that, or I'm starting to get old and jealous and just want my holiday back.



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