How adults ruined Halloween for the kids: “We can kill off Halloween, or we can accept that it isn’t dangerous and give it back to the kids. Then maybe we can start giving them back the rest of their childhoods, too.”
Let kids be kids. Let them play out side by themselves. Let them ride their bikes across the neighborhood and into the next one, too. Let them solve disputes amongst themselves. Let them fall (how else will you ever teach them to get back up?). Let them use their own imagination to invent new games with their own rules, to build their own forts and club houses, and to go trick-or-damn-treating on their own.
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.
So stranger danger is still going strong, and it’s even spread beyond Halloween to the rest of the year. Now parents consider their neighbors potential killers all year round. That’s why they don’t let their kids play on the lawn, or wait alone for the school bus: “You never know!” The psycho-next-door fear went viral.
And then it got worse.
I’m probably the world’s biggest Halloween Scrooge. I don’t dress up in costumes, and generally shake my head in ridicule at other adults that do. As a kid I loved it. But that’s because it was our holiday. We made our own costumes from stuff found around the house and sometimes complimented by a cheap plastic mask with a string to hold it to your face. We were free to roam the streets of our neighborhood with all of the other neighborhood kids while the adults stayed home and handed out candy to all of our friends.
But a lot of adults have a hard time letting go of being a kid, and many others simply never grow up. And now we’re stuck with a holiday that is only just barely about the kids, but is mostly about women dressing up like sluts and hookers (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and drunk men ogling them.
Lenore Skenzay who wrote the linked article for the Wall Street Journal is also the author of the excellent blog Freerange Kids.