For me growing up it was all about trick-or-treating and who could rack up the most candy. Sure the costumes were important but running the neighborhoods with my friends trying to find the most goodies was what Halloween was all about. It was one night and you looked forward to all summer long.
Later on came the haunted mazes and spook houses ready to scare the wits out of teenagers. Embracing the scariness and showing everyone you weren’t scared of those guys with the fake chainsaws chasing you in the woods. Smoke machines and black lights with hockey masked madmen jumping from doorways. You know it’s all safe, but none the less it is thrilling.
In my 20’s it was all about decorating the house and throwing an adult Halloween celebration. With dress up contests, artistic pumpkin carving competitions, live music and games that were meant for kids but were still fun when you were a little encumbered by inebriation.
Now with my own kids I get to relive the excitement of racing the neighborhoods looking for houses with lights on. Meeting happy people willing to give out handfuls of goodies. At night’s end, watching the floors fill with the sugar rewards. Helping them sort, trade and occasionally sneaking a Snickers or 2.
Halloween last all month long with activities and festivals and decorations everywhere. Just going to the pop-up Halloween stores is now sort of a tradition for our family. Seeing all the new costumes and avoiding the gory bloody section of the store. But I know they’ll soon be drifting over there peeking at what lurks in the darkness of imagination.
I’ve never been a fan of horror in my Halloween or anytime of year, really. But it seems more popular than ever and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. But that is okay. You can have your mutilated zombie baby with rotating head. I’ll be over here with the jack-o-lanterns, dancing skeletons and doing the old school monster mash. There is room for us all. But you just keep it in your room.