When we first moved into our house on Vallette Street, Halloween was a huge event. Many of the houses on the 3-block stretch went all out with decorations. Our next door neighbor would spend a week before the 31st cleaning out his garage, covering all the walls with black plastic and setting up special lights and sound effects. It was one scary place. But to top it all off, on the appointed eve, he would sit out in his garage dressed as a scruffy "dummy". His mask was very detailed right down to the cigar stub hanging from his mouth. The bowl of candy was strategically placed on a table next to where he was sitting. Kids would enter the "cave" and just as they'd reach for the candy, he'd say "Hey, whattaya doin'?" Squeals of fright and laughter would ensue. His house was so popular that kids were "bussed" in to experience it, year after year. Even though they knew what was coming, they'd come back to do again and again!
As a result, our street had a carnival atmosphere. Large groups of kids and adults would be going house to house. We had such a great time seeing all the costumes and hearing about how scared they were by the neighbor! I'm guessing we'd have 150+ kids come by.
But last year an older "kid" decided to poke Russ with is sword and it took weeks for his face to heal, so that traditon is gone. This year we maybe had 20 kids come to our door. It seems that parents are afraid of neighborhoods--they all take their kids to the mall or to the stores downtown. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but this just does not seem like fun to me. I'm sorry that kids are not experiencing the fun of neighborhood trick or treating and I'm truly glad that Jess was born in the "good old days" when this practice was still considered safe.