Monday, December 11, 2017

Open Space: Don’t let paranoia ruin Halloween

October 18, 2017 by Adam Boyle, staff writer

Remember Halloween? It was that holiday that every kid looked forward to because they wanted candy; it was the holiday that every parent looked forward to because dressing your kid up and taking them trick-or-treating was fun.

So when did we as a society become so paranoid and lazy?

I live in a historically busy spot in a busy, safe neighbourhood in south Oak Bay; we’ve gotten fewer trick-or-treaters each year for the past five years. One Halloween, my stepmother mentioned to me that a couple of friends of hers had taken their children to Hillside Mall instead of trick-or-treating at houses, and that the mall was jam-packed with families in the middle of the day.

This story originally appeared in our October 18, 2017 issue.

It’s time for a change. It’s time for a return to the roots of Halloween: celebrating the spooky and scary aspects of the world around us.

I remember going trick-or-treating with a handful of friends one year when I was young; it was our first year being allowed to go by ourselves, and we had planned out a route in order to get the biggest haul. When we were about halfway through, we came across a house that had a huge line outside, with parents talking and chuckling and kids laughing and screaming everywhere. The owners of the house had set up a makeshift haunted house in their large front yard; kids were pouring in by the dozens. Naturally, being a bunch of boys who weren’t afraid of anything, we piled in and had one of the best experiences you could have on Halloween.

It’s these experiences that are being lost as the years go on and people get more worried about letting their kids go out on their own.

With a decrease in the number of people trick-or-treating outside—and in the number of people leaving the house with their kids in the first place—one has to wonder how we lost the spirit of Halloween.The answer comes down to a handful of things: a growing population of overprotective parents, fewer people offering treats on Halloween, and the over-commercialization of the holiday in malls and big-box stores.

I want to see Halloween regain its glory as one of the few holidays that kids and parents alike can look forward to. Who decided it was suddenly not safe to take your kids out in Victoria?

For parents, Halloween offers a chance to relive their youth while now enjoying the experience as an adult. For kids, it’s a chance to make some memories that could last a lifetime.

So all those “mall parents” out there need to make an effort to help bring back trick-or-treating to our neighbourhoods. Decorate your houses. Put effort into making your kids’ Halloween experiences even better than your own. Let’s bring back what Halloween used to be all about.

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