When I think back to Halloweens of my youth I only remember being one character which I enjoyed to portray. I had this gypsy outfit which my Mom made and then altered several times for me. I wore the dress out and then I became disenchanted with the so-called holiday itself way before I began High School. I liked the candy and showing off for all the neighbors but I really didn't enjoy other depictions of characters. I thought that most of the costuming were plain lazy. Hobos were real popular in the early 70s and very easy costumes, of course. To me, a gypsy was special. She had powers but didn't flaunt them and she could be pretty or even beautiful depending on how much makeup and jewelry that Mum would let us wear. I even recruited gypsies; we could've been a gang.
I became disenchanted with Halloween because I couldn't understand why people would put razor blades in apples and hand them to innocent children. Some kids found needles stuck into candy bars and/or laced with LSD. My mother had to sift through my candy and I was cautioned about where I could go and where I couldn't. Most times it would snow on Halloween and you would have to wear a coat over your costume. To me, a gypsy in a coat was a gypsy out of place. My mother did not discourage me from going out and my parents did not accompany me but my brother was expected to watch out for me and make sure I followed along. We would ditch each other after the second year and go around with our own friends.
Looking back now I can see there was plenty of danger for me in going out but I don't remember being serious about it. Only my costume and the portrayal was important and now I know it was practically early acting training if nothing else. It's hard to get into character without the proper equipment, clothes and accessories. Once you had that going on you were unstoppable and invincible. But that is actually folly and probably not very healthy for children especially. I check out the adult Halloween party goers costumes every year and they get sillier as the years go by but they are not walking around with any illusions in their heads which can't be dispelled with a fast turn down in a pub.
I can unequivocally say that people with children would be better off keeping to a home-based Halloween tradition each year rather than taking their children around for trick-or-treats. Applause to those who do accompany their children because times are rough for children and it can only send a positive message to the child when their parents want to be a part of any fun their children have in or outside the home. Most of the time I don't get trick-or-treaters but this year I had more than usual and was glad I had actually prepared myself for them. One of them was a tiny tyke which couldn't have been two yet. The costume was darling and the baby's eyes were wide as saucers and when I bent down to place a small candy bar in his tiny hand he had some difficulty grasping it. I was in awe.
Suddenly I understood, after all these years, what Halloween trick-or-treating was all about and it made me smile. However, I am a decent person and I like children even though I've never had any. As a matter of fact I would probably take a jab at anyone who would hurt a child for any reason. I'm beginning to believe I'm the exception rather than the rule- I read the newspapers. Children may be at risk at home but it's worse out there in the streets. Ask some of the kids they take in at Covenant House- they'll tell you all about it.
What's the answer? If you love your kids, as I'm sure you do, keep a close watch and let them know you care. Kids should have emergency alert systems which could be connected to the amber alert system. It works for old people when they get hurt. Why not put it to further use? There are a lot of people out there that want nothing more than to exploit any child they can get their hands on. We need to make their purpose a difficult one. Anybody with me on this ?
The Castle Lady