When I was little, I was able to experience the joys of both handing out candy and going around to different houses to get candy. But it is a tradition that was handled with care by my entire family. Because my neighborhood consists of mostly plain Mennonite and Amish people, trick or treating was never highly encouraged. My families’ house was the only house on the street that displayed even a hint of fall-themed decor. Basically, we were able to carve jack ‘o lanterns with mildly scary faces.
Therefore, when it came to trick or treating, out of respect for our surroundings, we relocated to a familiar development. For the first few years of participating in Halloween, I went to my grandparent’s family-friendly development and either handed out candy, or picked it up. I remember being so frightened of a particular mask that I decided to take matters into my own hands for the next few years, and be the one handing out the candy, instead of mingling with the scary, costumed people. So, after that experience, I dressed up and stayed inside my grandparent’s house, controlling the flow of candy.
Later on, we moved on to a bigger, but still family-friendly housing development that my parents friends lived in. I don’t remember much about those couple of experiences, except for trading/stealing candy from my siblings. I think at that point, I considered myself as “too cool for school” and didn’t actually go out to get the candy, but my siblings were required to give me a portion of their earnings. I’m not exactly sure how I got away with that one.
As my siblings and I grew older, my parents decided that it was probably acceptable for us to go to an actual Halloween party. By party, I mean that the adults had a beer or two, a couple was dressed to match each other in a somewhat provocative way and there was a moon bounce out back. But at the time, it was a stretch for me to be in that type of environment, keeping in mind my neighborhood when I was growing up. My parents allowed me to experience more of Halloween every year, without it being unsafe for me. Halloween has been such a fun and expansive experience for me each passing year, and that’s why I think it’s been and continues to be so much fun. Halloween is our chance to be something that we are not, and possibly learn from it. It’s the night were it’s acceptable to not be on your best behavior.
As important as it is to experiment on Halloween, it is best to keep in mind that it can be a rather dangerous, hectic holiday. It’s important to have fun but to not lose your head to all of the festivities. It is crucial to go about your activities with at least one or more companions, whether you are partying or just running around the town. Have your cell phone charged and ready for safety purposes and make sure you have money, just in case. Have a designated driver if you do go partying, pour your own drinks and don’t let them out of sight. Be extra watchful of traffic if you are trick or treating or even just driving home. A lot of people drink on Halloween. Also, make sure your candy is safely unopened. When getting your candy, always wait outside the house, do not go in! And last but not least, don’t let anyone put floss in your bag or a razor blade in your apple, get the good kind of candy instead! Remember to be safe and keep your head on straight. Happy Haunting!