Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick-or-Treating. Not Just for Kids Anymore!

Halloween night is almost in the books. I'd say it was, but just ten minutes ago something exploded across the street and caused a lot of smoke. All's quiet for now.

I'm on the fence on this post's issue, but I'd love to hear what my readers think. Tonight we got a fair number of trick-or-treaters. I'm going to estimate we had about 25. The thing is of these I'd say only five were under 12 years of age and at least half appeared to be high school students. When did trick or treating become predominantly for teenagers? Is this just a thing in my neighbourhood or is it happening everywhere? Is it harmless fun or is it inappropriate? Should we smile and enjoy these happy teenagers or scowl and tell them to grow up? I don't know. We recently made fireworks a lot harder for kids to get their hands on during Halloween (it used to be a big thing here), so maybe they've replaced that more dangerous and destructive activity with trick-or-treating. If that's the case then I guess it's a good thing.

What I do know is that Halloween has undergone more evolution than any of our other festivities during my lifetime with the possible exception of Boxing Day. Boxing Day of course has gone from the day to recover from Christmas to the day to go out and spend all your Christmas money and that's a big shift, but can you really count Boxing Day as a festive occasion? Christmas has gotten more commercial, but that's just a continuing trend that people have been complaining about for 100 years or more. Easter and Thanksgiving seem pretty much the same as when I was a kid.

Halloween meanwhile has undergone considerable evolution besides just the teenagers-as-trick-or-treaters phenomenon outlined above. Today I went for a walk in the neighbourhood and was amazed at the number of houses that were decorated for Halloween. That used to be very rare when I was a kid, but now there are lots of houses that do it. That's okay, but I'm not joining in. The other thing is the sexualization of Halloween costumes. That was pretty much non-existent thirty years ago (or at least it was waaaayyyyyy more subtle). This seems pretty strange and you`ll be happy to know I`m not joining in on that either.

This is nothing like the witches I grew up with.


  1. I've got a number of comments:
    1. Our neighbourhood had lots and lots of little kids. When I came home around 8 after trick-or-treating with the little one, I was all set to hand out our hundreds of candies. We got nary a knock. Zip. Nada. Mind you, they all probably came earlier when we were out.

    2. I stopped trick-or-treating after grade 4. I never liked it. So that means I was at home -- across the street from you, Little Jackie -- and I handed out candy to loads of teenagers. Yes, even back then there were lots of teens making the rounds. This is not new.

    3. Society as a whole has become sexualized (PS Yay!), not just Halloween.

    4. You grew up with Samantha Stevens, who was a pretty damned sexy witch. And Jeanie wasn't too shabby herself.

  2. We were slow off the mark ... only 6 kids between 6:30-7:30, ... then BAM ... tons of kids between 7:30 and 8pm. Ended up running out of candy and glad I'd got the extra bag from Costco (which is another topic too). Think we had 85 kids total.

    Yes, the outfits are getting a lot more risque than what I recall too ... and a lot gorier. Gone are the firemen and superheros; in are the zombies carrying severed heads.

    I remember the rule about if there's no lights on, don't go to the house. We'd run out of candy, blew out the pumpkin candle, turned off the porch lights, and people still came a-knockin.

    Fortunately we were still awake as we were waiting for our teenage kids who were out trick-or-treating and probably were the ones setting off firecrackers outside your house.

  3. Also ... Boxing Day has somehow morphed to become Boxing Week. What's up with that?

  4. hey - Halloween has been a dandy excuse for women who were so inclined to dress up in slutty outfits for years. That's not new. I'm casting my memory back to law school (20 yrs ago now) and the Halloween dance was always chock full of slutty nurse/witch/harem girl/pirate/etc etc etc. costumes.

    But back then, most people had to cruise Value Village for costumes, I think what's changed is the proliferation of packaged slutty costumes. it's so easy to dress easy these days!

  5. I think the real issue is not that adults or even teenagers are dressing up sluttily. They've always done that, always will do that, and often don't need Hallowe'en as an excuse (right Sue? I kid, I kid!)

    The problem is when 9 year olds dress up like Elvira (remember her? 9 year olds don't, that's for sure). Now we're treading in some pretty icky JonBenet-ish waters.

  6. Guy,

    I have lived at the same address for 14 years. There are way more teenagers knocking on my door now than ten years ago. While this may only be the case in my neighbourhood, it is not something I am imagining.

    As for our neighbourhood as children, I too lived there for many years handing out candy. Yes there were teenagers, but they were in the minority. Most of the door knockers were youngsters.

    Your point about society becoming more sexualized is a good one.

    Sue, there is no way you can say that parties in the early 80's had as much "sexy" stuff as the Halloween parties today do.

    Pete, tell your kids to stay off my street.

    Dan, what's with sticking to the ' in the midst of Halloween? Can't we just agree to drop that?

  7. hey Jack, that was the late '80's! Things were getting all skanky by then.

    I was still in high school in the early '80's... Not all of us are as old as Guy and Dan.

  8. Sue, please don't put me in the same age bracket as Mr. Jardine. He is in a class all to himself. I am but one year older than Little Jackie.

    Jack, could it be that the kids in your neighbourhood have grown into teenagers?

  9. Jack, I'm old school, as Guy so bluntly pointed out, so it will always be Hallowe'en to me.

    And Sue, you and skanky Hallowe'en costumes may be the only good thing to come out of the 80s.

  10. I am enjoying the banter here. Will there be more pictures of the sexy witch? xelA.

  11. In these times, even late-teens and adults participates in trick-or-treating to relive the fun that they've experienced when they're still kids for their statement of being "forever young". Wigs and good looking and nostalgic costumes brings fun to the homeowners that the treaters are visiting, just like how me and my friends went trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with our African American wigs which we all wore the same costume as Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) from the movie Pulp Fiction.