I remember the roaming, the aimless innocent cavorting with packs of friends, like costumed strays around our neighborhood. Halloween was the one night of the year our parents let us OUT, like really out, on our own. Growing up in the seventies and the eighties Halloween night meant one thing–independence. The candy was good. Just fine, but the big draw was the wandering in little packs of ghosts, cats and nurses.
Armed with pillowcases we’d hit the neighborhood, sans parents, trying to see through the peep-holes of our sweaty masks, knocking on doors of *gasp* strangers demanding candy. Sometimes I’m pretty sure we didn’t say “thank you” or “please” but no supervising adult was there to remind us. Off we went to the next house, then the next. It was just like the Charlie Brown cartoons. It was the best night of the year.
That Halloween is dead. Forever.
For reasons today’s parents are all too familiar with, we’d never send our 10-year-old out on Halloween night with her friends without proper supervision. Not to be a Halloween grinch, but I kind of dread tonight. The kids have already been to three “Harvest” parties, their costumes stained with chocolate and fruit punch, and now they’re going to fill up on more. We’ll leave a big bowl of candy at our door and join our kids, missing out on one of the really fun parts of the holiday for parents–passing out the candy.
I know I need to let it go. I know I do. But I can’t shake the feeling that our kids are missing out on something great and it makes me sad for them. Though I know the last thing in the world they’ll be tonight is “sad.” I know I need to let it go–embrace the good things about the today’s Halloween; the block parties, the parent costumes, the time together. But Halloween has become some sort of yardstick for me–symbolic–measuring the childhood I had to the one my kids have. I know I need to let it go. I know I do…