Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Halloween II

I'm a bit late with this post, but nevertheless, here goes:

A house with Halloween decorationsLast year at Halloween we had only recently moved to NC. We decided to go native, so I took Emily and Lauren trick-or-treating, while Mark stayed at home and handed out sweets. This year, Emily decided that she was too old to go around people's homes asking for sweets, so she decided to stay at home and hand out sweets with Mark.

A house with Halloween decorationsI'm not sure that she would have felt too old if she had been out though. It seemed to be the older children and teenagers who had the most mercenary attitudes towards trick-or-treating. They hunted in packs, preferring to demand sweets with friends, unsupervised by adults. Each carried a huge white sack and they would push past any hapless toddler who got between them and their booty. They started early and kept trick-or-treating after the little ones had been taken home to bed.

A house with Halloween decorationsWhile out with Lauren, I also met many a parent who seemed to be one step away from elevating trick-or-treating to a profession. Lauren gave up when her plastic pumpkin-shaped bucket was about half full mainly because she was fed up of having to carry it. The pro-parents carried carrier bags into which they would periodically empty the contents of their children's containers, keeping them lightweight for their children. The pros also made sure that their children wore sensible shoes. Some with very small children also thought to pull little trolleys behind them in which the little ones could sit and be pulled from house to house, so that they only needed to use their little feet to walk up each driveway in their cute little costumes and ask for sweets.

The night was full of goodwill. People wished each other "Happy Halloween" (although I have to admit to finding this a bit bizarre). Those houses with sweets to hand out, at their simplest, would put lighted pumpkins on their doorstep and leave the porch light on. Homes that were dark were bypassed by trick-or-treaters. Some homes went the extra mile and decorated their homes with witches on the lawns, ghosts on the trees, ghoulish lights, pumpkins, cobwebs and even dry ice. Scarecrows made out of old clothes were also common.

A house with Halloween decorationsOften, those who stayed at home handing out sweets also dressed up and some even got into character. One that particularly springs to mind was a house where Darth Vader guarded the steps. Far from being scared, though, the kids seemed to love it. One lady had carefully raked all the leaves on her lawn into a maze. Children who went to her house were given sweets, then encouraged to find their way through the maze.

The next day (and sometimes even that night itself) the Halloween decorations were taken down, although "Fall" decorations sometimes remained. We have now entered the lull before Thanksgiving.

1 comment:

sweet_melody51 said...

I loved this little story of american Holloween....! I, too, and mixed on the wishing a "happy Holloween", as it implies that holloween is a day without a "haunting history". We also forget all those thousands of times we tell our children not to take things from strangers....then take them out begging one night a year....what kind of mixed message does that send?

anyway, sounds like fun was had by all....NOW, for the Turkey!