“Professional Halloween Lighting” reads the sign on my corner. Are they kidding? I wondered as I inched toward my house, looking out for any of my young neighbors.
My block is filled with kids of all ages, nursery through high schoolers. And their house Halloween decorations began appearing last week. Next door to me there is a menagerie of scary guys and body parts, bushes dripping with spider webs. Across the street there is a whole array Halloween creatures, hanging ghosts, spiders, and a witch or two. Down the block there is a graveyard covering the entire front lawn. Beyond that are houses and shrubbery covered with cob webs, ghoulish things, witches, ghost, skeletons, and pumpkins of all varieties. In short, I live in Halloween heaven. And it’s all created by kids with a parental assist perhaps.
When my children were growing up not once did we purchase a costume at Ahhs. In fact, figuring out what each wanted to be and how to make that happen was a big part of the holiday thrill. The build up to Halloween for weeks before was as much fun as the night itself. By the time Halloween rolled around, they were completely invested in the night as a result of all they had planned and created—costumes to candy collection containers, house decorations to carved pumpkins and cooked seeds, trick-or-treat game plan to candy sorting and storage strategies —it was all theirs. And it was especially exciting and memorable just because of it.
When did it become okay for grown-ups to horn in on Halloween? I understand that some adults love it as an opportunity to let loose. Their costumes come with one-night-only-permission to be Lady Gaga or Peyton Manning. That’s not what I am talking about.
I don’t understand adults who enjoy scaring children, jumping out from behind the trick-or-treat door. I don’t understand adults who come to my door and dig into the candy dish, right along with their children. I don’t understand why this just can’t be a kid’s holiday.
It’s sad enough that children don’t make their costumes anymore. It’s disappointing enough that our neighborhoods aren’t safe enough for the children to trick-or-treat without an adult holding their hands. It’s bad enough that Halloween has become larger than life, as big as Christmas, it seems. Can’t Halloween just be childlike without all the bells and whistles and fancy stuff?
By the way, there are no Halloween lights on my block. Who needs them? It’s the kids who bring the sparkle to my block.