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Halloween Past and Present

October 28, 2011 · 14 comments

in Holidays

I love Halloween, and always have.  The fall is such a wonderful time of year, and when you combine falling leaves, cider and trick or treating, it is perfect!

I was watching the news the other day, and the newscaster was providing all kinds of Halloween safety tips.  The news story made me stop and think about how Halloween has changed over the years.  The general theme has obviously remained the same, but there are some differences.

Halloween In The 1970s

When I was a kid, costumes were not elaborate.  We bought a plastic mask, some cheap costume, and marched up and down the streets with a pillowcase.

Fun-size  candy bars were more the exception than the rule.  Dum dum suckers, Mary Janes, Black Jacks, Smarties and Good N Plenty were much more common.  Now that I think about it, I didn’t even like much of the candy I received, but it sure was special to go out trick or treating.

Devil’s Night (I believe it is called ‘Mischief Night’ in some parts of the country) was almost exciting.  I used to hide on our front porch to try and catch someone egging or soaping our car.  (We all parked in the street.)  I never did catch anyone, but the thought of seeing such vandalism was intriguing.

Pumpkins were carved traditionally.  Triangle eyes and a mouth with some missing teeth.  Pumpkins were great.

Nobody wore reflective bands or carried glow sticks.   Kids just ran door to door (although they still looked both ways before crossing the street).  The streets were packed with trick or treaters!

Halloween in the 2000s

The majority of my kid’s candy now seems to be fun-sized and regular sized candy bars.  I would have been ecstatic  if candy bars had been so popular in my youth, and probably pretty sick too.

According to that news story I watched, masks should not be worn because they are just not safe enough, and kids should all wear something reflective on their costume.   No masks?  Well I should have been arrested when my son was 8 and wore a Darth Vader costume, which was all black, and had a mask AND  a helmet.  Although a light saber might have appeased the child safety experts… but would it also be considered a weapon?  Hard to say.  (I will say though that I would have never let him trick or treat alone in that costume…)

Pumpkins can be considered a work of art.  I have seen some very elaborate scenes carved out of pumpkins, and it looks very labor intensive.  I thought the fancy pumpkins were interesting the first year I saw them, but then they lost their novelty for me- and I prefer the standard pumpkin. (Although I still think the vomiting pumpkin is funny, where the  ‘guts’ are strewn in front of the mouth.)

Speaking of pumpkin guts, I also saw a news story the other day about how a major road was closed because of  ‘pumpkin debris’.  That was a first for me.

Detroit took Devil’s Night to an all new level where fires  were set all over the city.  I believe it is now called ‘Angel’s Night’ and there is extra effort to prevent arson.  (The wide spread fires in Detroit actually started in the 1990s.)

Kids in our area now start trick or treating in the daylight since the clocks ‘fall back’ in November now. I just cannot get used to daylight trick or treating!

There are Halloween stores all over the place.  Right now, many of the out-of-business Borders stores have become ‘Spirit Halloween’.  I have to admit though, I love going in these stores…

If You Live In Southeast Michigan…

Even though things are a little different now than when I was growing up, Halloween is still a great holiday.  If anything, people seem to decorate more now than they did when I was a kid.  What else is great is that it isn’t even a Hallmark Holiday!

Speaking of decorations, I don’t know how many of you readers live in the Metro Detroit area, but if you do, head out to Tillson Street in Romeo and see the best Halloween decorations I have ever seen.  The street is made up of older homes, and the way homeowners have decorated their homes and yards is amazing.  You can park your car and take a stroll up and down the street and at the end, stop at the Dairy Queen that is right there.  I am not affiliated with this ‘presentation’ in any way, I just enjoy going there every year and wanted to spread the word.  If you want more information, go to TerrorOnTillson.com.

What are your Halloween plans?

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