Halloween Is a Shadow of Its Former Self

Tofu cookies, slutty costumes, and trick-or-treating in malls do not make a holiday

I remember when Halloween was simple. When kids got to dress up in either homemade or store-bought costumes and walk from home to home to get candy from their neighbors. There was something wholesome and wonderful about the day. A neighborhood gathered together in celebration of its children.

Even the phrase “Trick or Treat,” which let’s face it is really extortion, “give up the candy or I will egg your house,” even that seemed cute and innocent compared to what Halloween has become. All of the vultures of the modern American culture that have ruined just about everything over the past 25 years have picked apart Halloween until it is but a shell of what it once was.

First, TV news scared the heck out of parents with claims of poisoned candy. Do you know how many kids have died from poisoned candy in the history of Halloween? Zero. But that didn’t stop the reports. Couple that with the breathless details of every child abduction in the country and the specials on sex offenders in our midst, and many parents stopped sending kids out in the neighborhood. Halloween moved inside to malls or school parties, where kids could be closely watched.[SIGNUP]

And then came the food police with suggestions for healthy alternatives to candy. The treat kids once had of dumping their bag of goodies on the kitchen table at the end of the night was gone. Somehow tofu cookies, carob cake, apple slices and other healthy treats, like hay, just don’t garner the same excitement.

Next, the self-absorbed, youth-obsessed Baby Boomers became jealous of the fun that the kids were having and hijacked the entire holiday. Now you see more adults dressed up than kids. Halloween has become Fellini’s Singles Bar Fantasy, with women trying to dress as inappropriate as possible in the guise of being a maid, flight attendant, wench or Sarah Palin. It seems you just put the word “sexy” in front of any outfit and it flies off the shelves. Drive around Old City this weekend, and you’ll see the Fellini Film Fantasy I’m describing through your car windows.

And what an example that has set for the kids. Have you seen the costumes for little girls these days, especially tweens? Gone are Snow White and the wicked witch. Young girls are trying to compete with big sis and mom by dressing as sexy as possible. It is disturbing I long for a simpler time when we trusted our neighbors, as we weren’t scared to death by news reports of the dangers in our midst, when kids dressed as cowboys and princesses and were able to safely walk from home to home to gather candy from neighbors who knew them by name. And the kids didn’t have to compete with mom or dad for best costume, as one parent was home handing out candy and the other was not far away making sure everyone is safe.

And if a 12-year-old tried to go outside dressed as Britney Spears or a Sexy Pocahontas, the parents would tell her to go back upstairs and change.

I know that traditional Halloween still exists in many neighborhoods in the area. Hold on tight to it, because America’s marketing machine will try to steal it from you. That’s the real Trick or Treat.