I used to LOVE Halloween. It was fun to see all the kids in costume, to get to feel all benevolent giving out treats and to just generally enjoy the season.
But as time has rolled on I've become more and more ambivalent about the waste and unhealthiness of this holiday. I mean, I want to support the kids and all, but is giving them toxic treats wrapped in plastic really the best way to do that?
For a while, I decided the thing to do was to give little toys instead of candy. So I went online and bought a bunch of small party favor type toys. But, they're all made in China and 99% of them are plastic... is that really better? Plus, the kids really want candy.
Then I though I'd buy bulk candy wrapped in foil. But it's hard to find, and still, do I really want to contribute to the childhood obesity epidemic?
But the thing that's really bothering me is much more fundamental. It's the way trick-or-treating is done these days. It used to be that trick-or-treating was an opportunity to be neighborly and get to see all of the neighborhood kids having fun.
But these days, there aren't that many kids left on my block, and the past few years I've been the only house with the porch light on.
But that hasn't meant that I've seen any fewer trick-or-treaters. In fact, each year there are more and more. But it's not because neighborhood kids are walking further, the parents just load them all into the SUV and drive them around the neighborhood to houses with the porch light on.
So I'll get upwards of 100 trick-or-treaters, but only one or two are kids I recognize. The rest seem to be shipped in from who knows where. The cars pull up, and about 10-12 kids pile out - they knock on the door demanding candy and then pile back into the car.
Is this just me, or does this seem like it's not really in keeping with the spirit of the holiday? I suppose it's hard to blame them when there are so few houses giving out candy, but still... it's not like the kids who show up don't already have several pounds of candy in their loot bags.
And then as the evening progresses, the trick-or-treat thugs start to show up.
These are the guys who are WAY too old to be out there, and look a lot more like gang members than children. I mean seriously guys, if you're 6 inches taller than me, I think it's time to give it up.
But even more disturbing, each year I get a few adult trick-or-treaters. Some of them don't even bother to dress up, they just knock on the door and ask for candy. Part of me wonders if they're homeless or what.
Add to all that the fact that the whole event is quite stressful on the cats since they have to be locked in the basement, and Sputty's been having a rough week, I'm leaning heavily toward boycotting the whole thing.
I did buy a bit of chocolate so I'd have something to give out if some of the younger neighborhood kids show up before dark, but I think that I'm just gonna leave the porch light off and hide out in the back part of the house.
So what do you think? Am I being a total grinch? Do you participate in trick-or-treating? How do you deal with all of the issues I just complained about? I'd love to hear how other people deal with this holiday.