It’s Time to Give Halloween Back to the Kids

barry currin, beaverdamusa.comWell, we finally did it. After generations of crafty planning and manipulating, the grown-ups have stolen Halloween from the kids. And, I think it’s a shame.

I distinctly remember the excitement of Halloween as a child. School was eternal that day. When I got home, I would put on my homemade ghost or monster costume with a store-bought mask and sit there impatiently with my plastic jack-o-lantern waiting for the first hint of dusk. Finally, I would meet up with friends under the designated streetlight, and we would trick-or-treat our neighborhood, traipsing until bedtime. By night’s end, that jack-o-lantern would be full of candy, and the tip of my tongue would be raw from subconsciously poking it through the little slit in the mouth of my mask.

Those days are gone, though.

Today, we go to the Halloween store that sets up for a month in an abandoned space in a strip center, dress our kids up like our favorite reality TV star, strap them in the mini-van, crank up “Frozen” on the DVD player and drive them to something called a trunk-or-treat, where the kids get an already-full treat bag and a turkey hotdog on a gluten-free bun before churning it all up in a bouncy castle. The event caps off with a big ol’ squirt of Purell. Then we drive them to somebody else’s neighborhood where we are forced to escort them from house to house because we don’t know anybody who lives there.

Listen for a statement like this one on Saturday, because you will hear it: “We had 900 trick-or-treaters last night. I don’t know where they all came from.” The very idea of being forced into a vehicle as a child on Halloween and transported across town simply sends shivers down my spine.

Why did we start micro-managing our children at Halloween? Don’t tell me it’s safer. The safest place in the entire world for a kid is in a group of a half-dozen similar kids binge eating sugar with chocolate-covered hands. Nobody’s messing with them.

When we would trick or treat, we knew to stay away from the weird guy’s house, and we knew how to keep from getting lost, because we knew the terrain from playing outside every day. We knew every fence, dog, briar patch and guy wire. And we all survived to tell about it.

I know part of the problem. We all loved Halloween as children, and we want to make sure our kids love it, as well. But we’re going about it the wrong way.

I implore you to let your child experience trick or treating the right way. Let your child make a costume and throw away the Kim Kardashian or Uncle Si get-up. (I would say return it, but that store will be gone tomorrow.) Give them one bag for candy. Don’t let them carry a spare for their “little sister who is in the car.” And don’t let them carry a pillowcase. That’s egregious, even in our society. Plus, it’s a pillowcase.

If you must go and hover over your kids, you cannot carry a bag. Your time has passed. Just take some of the kids’ candy after you get home. Or, buy your own. And for goodness sake, teach them to say “trick or treat” and “thank you.”

It took years for us to steal Halloween from our kids, but giving it back could be as easy as taking candy from a baby.

Do you agree? Post a comment!

Since you’re not doing anything important right now anyway, read Barry’s column about Halloween from last year.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:


  1. You hit the nail on the head!! Good job Barry!

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