The Halloween Tradition of “Trick or Treating!
Horror sites and blogs such as this are known for celebrating the Halloween season by highlighting its movies, actors, attractions, and horror hosts. Few, however, ever really get down to the ground level of Halloween – that is trick-or-treating! While it can be traced to other parts of the world, the tradition really took off in this country during the 1950’s. By the time I was old enough to start knocking on neighborhood doors and ask the question that would invariably lead to a bag full of candy, it was over 20 years later and firmly established as a holiday tradition.
It was during my childhood that various “legends” also began to evolve such as the notorious “razor blades in an apple” scare that had my mother “sorting through” our candy before giving them back to us. We’d sit and watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” while our candy went through inspection ala’ a giant pile of goodies on the kitchen table. Now that I’m an adult I am convinced that this practice was probably more my parents way of snagging some of the good stuff for themselves as opposed to keeping us from harm.
Despite these fears, I remember going off with my friends and walking blocks and blocks while loading our bags with candy. Today’s kids aren’t allowed to go off by themselves as we were and I also noticed seem to tire out a lot easier. Like cartoons, candy and sweets are much more readily available to them these days and not worth the arduous journeys we adults were willing to do back in our youths.
This is not to suggest, however, that trick-or-treating has lost its allure. We monster kids have grown up, and the holiday has become nearly as big a commercial success as Christmas. Homes today can now offer much more yard appeal than a simple jack-o’ lantern in the window. This was never more evident to me than earlier tonight when I took my kids out to trick-or-treat. I grew up in Homewood, Illinois and returned years later to raise my own family. Not far from my childhood home, lies Page Avenue – a street that has become the number one spot for local kids to obtain their goodies.
The residents here are friendly and many don’t even wait for you to ring their doorbells. They are often seen sitting outside their homes, bowl of treats nearby, and many even have little fire pits so parents can keep warm while their kids handle the task at hand. I remember the year my son dressed as Horror Host, Svengoolie, this was the one street where EVERYONE knew who he was.
Two houses in particular go ALL OUT on Page. They are right next door to each other and, each year, seem to add more and more great stuff! One of them even uses his garage to further the entertainment!
I noticed the house next to them is for sale and it’s too bad this wasn’t the case when I moved back to Homewood. We could have really been a Trilogy of Terror! This year I decided to wear my Wolfman mask created by horror host, Dr. David Lady, and his wife. David bought it for me at the last Horrorhound Weekend and I decided that now was the time for it to make its public debut. I didn’t do too much else in terms of a costuming because my young niece was joining us this year and I was afraid I’d scare her. Page Avenue also proved a great place for The Wolf man to reunite with his old adversary, Frankenstein, via a PVC pipe custom monster made by one of the residents!
By the way, if you think I was kidding about kids getting lazier, allow me to call to your attention something else I saw tonight. I little land rover transporting trick-or-treaters to the best houses!
Well I guess Trick-or-treating was bound to evolve at some point!