Growing up, we always lived in the country. Trick or treating was difficult - it was a LONG way to walk between houses and since we lived in Washington, it was usually raining. We had to pick a few houses (of people we actually knew) and our parents would drive us over to trick or treat. My brother and I would eat our handful of candy and watch scary movies by the fire. That was Halloween night.
We did have the school Fall Festival too - costumes, games, a little haunted house. Then again, our rural elementary school only had 98 students. The school was old and small... beautiful woodwork and an old furnace in the basement. The windows glowed, there was a special kind of warmth that you get from knowing EVERYONE in sight (parents, fellow students, teachers and their families) and that old furnace, and it smelled soooo good (the school cook make fresh bread every day - what an amazing woman... our school always smelled good).
FAST FORWARD 30+ YEARS
In years past, I haven't been able to take the kids around for trick or treating - I either had just had surgery, or one of the kids was sick... regardless, I was the one left to hand out candy. I love that job. My husband took the kids around the block and they return with buckets spilling over with candy.
On Halloween night, about 60 kids knock on our door. How does 15 kids turn in to 60? And I look at my kids buckets of candy... so heavy that my 4 year old kept begging me to carry his for him... What has happened to my lovely Halloween?
My husband would argue that it's the same as always. He and his friends would trick or treat their neighborhood, and the next neighborhood, and the next and the next. When their buckets were full, they would empty them and go back out for more and more and more.
Don't get me wrong, I love the kids coming for their candy and I love that our neighborhood swells on Halloween night... but there's something about the excess and my kids going door to door to ask for candy from every single house that makes me a bit uneasy.... it's just a tad bit repulsive....
As a parent, and the only parent that probably thinks this way... when do I say ENOUGH!
I do not want greedy children. I do not want kids who shove candy in their mouths until they are sick. I do not more the more, more, more, more, more.... and I don't want it for my kids either.
Maybe next year, we'll try something new. A more rural take on Halloween.
We will decorate our house and our yard to the extreme. Oh we love that part and the kids do too, we'll make our own mini-haunted house and maybe add a game or two for the kids to play as they come to trick or treat.
Then kids can pick 5 houses.... of people we actually know - our marvelous neighbors that we love sooooo much. We can walk the neighborhood and "oooooh" and "awwwwe" at our neighbors decorations, and then retire to our front patio to greet all the kids coming for their candy.