Friday, October 28, 2011

Rant #606: Pre-Spook Halloween

I know Halloween is on Monday, and I will have a Rant that day, but since so many adults will celebrate this occasion during the weekend--Monday is, after all, a work day--I figured I would talk about it today.

Halloween just isn't what it used to be.

I remember Halloween as a kids' day, but the holiday has been co-opted by what we used to call "The Establishment." It is now a holiday for adults, and not really for kids anymore.

Adults dress up, have Halloween parties, and act like the kids they were decades before.

Children dress up, have parties, and barely go trick or treating anymore.

What a shame.

My childhood, as I have said many times, was spent in a wonderful--and equally frustrating--place called Rochdale Village, in South Jamaica, Queens, New York.

The place had five sections, a total of 20 buildings, each building with three sections (A, B, C), 13 stories apiece, and about seven apartments on every floor.

Thousands of families lived there, so Halloween was simply the greatest holiday that there was.

We would go from building to building, section to section, apartment to apartment, and get our candy, money, and whatever else people threw in our bags.

We used to get bags and bags and bags of stuff.

It was simply incredible how those bags filled up like they did.

The bags had to be checked, of course, and my mother used to sit down with my sister and myself to go through the contents.

I remember one year, my sister got an apple with pins in it. We knew exactly where the apple came from--an elderly woman in our building--but in those days, you really didn't do much about it. You just knew not to visit that apartment again the next year.

And since I have never really been a candy eater, I gave all my candy to my sister. My sister has a sweet tooth, and believe me, between the Halloween candy I gave her, and the baseball card gum I gave her, is it any wonder that she has had problems with her teeth as an adult?

But Halloween was simply heaven to kids living in my development.

Heck, with all the pennies I got, if I could have kept them all, I could probably buy a slice of pizza today.

But all kidding aside, how can a Halloween like this compare with Halloween today?

It can't. It simply can't.

And that is why Halloween today is a far cry from what I--and probably many of you--celebrated way back when.

I wish it could be the same way today, but it can't.

Today, I basically look at Halloween as a nuisance.

We decorate our home, and put out candy for the kids, but hardly anybody visits.

And since Halloween is on a school night this year, I expect even fewer kids to be out.

So happy Halloween, but don't tell me that the holiday in 2011 is the same as it was in 1967.

It isn't the same thing, no matter where you grew up.

It just isn't.

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