I was all set to write a vitriolic rant against the idea that kids should go to Halloween parties rather than trick-or-treating. Over the past few years (admittedly, before I had a kid) I seem to remember a lot of ado about the nutritional and safety related dangers of trick-or-treating. This campaign against the practice of encouraging our children to roam the streets at night, going door to door, and begging for candy from strangers seemed to coincide with a marked decrease in the number of children ringing my doorbell (and my parents’). And I was livid. How dare they mess with one of the all-time great childhood pastimes! (Trick-or-treating was one of the things North America had all over the rest of the world, but it seems to be spreading.) Proper parental supervision and rationing of the loot is enough to offset any concerns — so relax!
Happily, even though I was all set to rant on and on, it looks like trick-or-treating is back and stronger than ever. Last night we took Colum out for the first time and stumbled upon the magical fairy-tale land of trick-or-treating. Our route was a straight shot down Pacific from Dundas to Humberside — cutting from the heart of the Junction to the Northern tip of the more affluent High Park area. All down the street every second or third house was fully decked out with multiple Jack-o-lanterns and skeletons and witches and ghouls, you name it. (Later that night we had to stop twice to unravel insane amounts of fake cobwebbing from the wheels of the stroller.) Most people were sitting out on their porches or steps, many in full costume, and handing out generous amounts of good treats. But the street! The sidewalk was packed shoulder to shoulder with parents and kids of all ages hustling up and down walk ways and zig-zagging across the street. Neighbours were calling out greetings and gushing over each other’s costumes. Oh, it was good fun! Colum was so into it, he refused to stop. We were out for over an hour even though he was so tired he could barely walk a straight line.
I don’t know what’s changed, if anything. We lived in the same area last year and while Colum was too young to go out, I took him for a walk and there were hardly any kids in sight. Maybe we went out walking too late last year. Or maybe it was the unbelievably mild yet crisp fall weather we had last night. The just-past-full moon shining over a half-shed canopy of maples and oaks while piles of leaves crunch underfoot. It could just be the huge numbers of young families in this neighbourhood or that it was a Wednesday. It seems that Halloween is gaining ground as the high secular holiday of the year and people are just really into. Whatever the case, it looks like trick or treating might be back in vogue and I love, love, love it!