Halloween is the day when America market-tests parental paranoia. If a new fear flies on Halloween, it's probably going to catch on the rest of the year, too.
Take "stranger danger," the classic Halloween horror. Even when I was a kid, back in the "Bewitched" and "Brady Bunch" costume era, parents were already worried about neighbors poisoning candy. Sure, the folks down the street might smile and wave the rest of the year, but apparently they were just biding their time before stuffing us silly with strychnine-laced Smarties.
That was a wacky idea, but we bought it. We still buy it, even though Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, has researched the topic and spends every October telling the press that there has never been a single case of any child being killed by a stranger's Halloween candy [emphasis mine - Kat]. (Oh, yes, he concedes, there was once a Texas boy poisoned by a Pixie Stix. But his dad did it for the insurance money. He was executed.)
Yeah, I remember the days when it got to about 4pm on Halloween, and my younger sister and I would rummage through our closets to decide what we were going to "be" that night. She and I would meet with our buddies and go ALL OVER the neighborhood - just us two or with the group. She and I kept track of each other, but that was about it.
Mom and Dad never came along to make sure we were "safe," and my older brother only accompanied us when were about 6 or 7 (he's a whole 3 years older than I am). And considering that a 10 year old was "watching over" a 7 and 6 year old, you can imagine that his supervision wasn't too intense *grinz*
Also, we didn't live in a neighborhood where the houses were close together. Each lot was at least 3 acres, and we would walk forever to make sure we visited each house. Just FYI, I grew up on Londonderry Dr. in Greenwich, CT. We lived on the southernmost end, and would go almost all the way up to Stanwich Rd., and often went to houses on Burning Tree Rd. and Winterset. We TRAVELED on Halloween night!
I am currently in the midst of cooking for a party we'll be having at my sister-in-law's house. My Beloved has been building all sorts of scary animatronic things to display in her front yard (although it's something he really enjoys), and he's currently loading them up so he can transport them to her front yard and assemble them. I'm glad that he's having so much fun, even though it's not my "thing," but for me, all the decorating and planning and construction is just... "Ho-hum."
And, yes, I'm pretty much the same way - decoration-wise - about Christmas. I set up my Hummel crêche and I cook... That's my "thing"! ;-)
But I do miss the Halloweens of my youth...