Life's Like That: Halloween, a jip or treat for todays kids?

Halloween is an October tradition almost every kid, adult and those in between dream about. Whether it is the candy, costumes, pumpkins and ghouls of the grave it is a celebration that for me year after year holds a special place in my heart.

Ravin RabbitsBeing more than just a little too old these days to go knocking on doors for treats, I satisfy my urges for candy (chocolate especially) with something I call “compensation candy” (candy I buy for myself once a year). That's why I invest in a gym membership.

Being college-aged I tend to engage in activities a little bit more conducive to the tricky side of things; you know the specialty costumes, illusions and such. The memories of childhood extortion (hassling others for candy) will remain with me but have long passed.

The idea for this story came Halloween night, but not the way you'd think. Rather I have a semi-sad tale to tell and it begins with H1N1 or the “Swine Flu.” I know what your thinking, and no, I am not going to start feeding you statistics, facts, a to do or a don't do list. Rather as a long-time resident of London I am going to explain how away from the limelight of downtown, away from the haunted houses and other various events this city puts on for the kids; Halloween and it's traditions appeared to be very scarce this season.

This year was creepy, eerie really and not in the right way. Although children could be heard, it was quiet. When you could see children it was not in the way I had grown accustomed to, but rather in small close nit clusters with parents (some in masks and not the costume kind) rushing children to and from doors. A vast majority of the children I saw were actually being let in and out of cars. Stemming from sheer curiosity I approached a women and after complimenting the children's costumes I asked: “Are you guys from out of town?” The women explained to me that she was from London and how she didn't even want her kids to go out for Halloween but felt bad and caved.

That conversation began to make me curious; I began to ask the few scattered parents I saw standing at the end of driveways or waiting for kids in their cars questions. One father explained “My son is four; I plan on throwing out this candy when he goes to bed and replacing it with stuff in the closet, and he won't know the difference.” Another lady informed me her children could eat all properly washed candy, but “After I check it and wash it, they can eat it. My kids aren't going to die from an infected piece of gum.”

Now I am aware these are just two peoples mind sets and not everyone is that worried or paranoid. I'm not saying you should be, but I'm not saying you shouldn't, I'm saying biological safety this Halloween has surpassed the regular inspection of candy and in some cases is the cause of neighborhood generosity being thrown in the trash. The theme of Halloween may be based around the non-living I never expected to see the “trick or treat” event laid to rest like a partially dead character from a spooky film.

Halloween night as I walked my dog before engaging in some tricky events of my own I took a minute to remember when my brothers and I would hit the pavement with Spiderman pillowcases and anticipation. I remember running to the doors and having to wait my turn because porches can only hold a few kids. I remember Halloween started when streetlights came on and it stopped once lights were turned out. Nostalgia is not what I'm going for here, but to a certain extent it is necessary if only to convey my overall message: “Kids have been jipped out of Halloween.” The worst part is they are not even aware of what has been lost. It is only those people born before 1988 who know the truth.

I am left to wonder what will become of Halloween? Will it improve or continue on its path towards a slow and painful demise? The sights and sounds of this Halloween night left me with conflicted emotions. Was I fortunate to have felt the past glories or am I cursed for the knowledge I hold about what Halloween should and can be? I'm not sure a definitive answer can be found. It seems my childhood Halloween is just a fading memory and I fear will continue its decline.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.