Halloween History

Halloween has changed and evolved over the years and I always seem to be a step behind in calculating what lies ahead.

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Trick or Treating was still in full swing by the time I was a young married mother experiencing my first Halloween on the giving side of the candy bowl. Remembering my childhood disappointment at the measly Halloween handouts in my neighborhood, I was determined to be one of the “go to” houses that gave out copious amounts of candy bars.

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In later years, these stories proved to be unfounded. At the time, however, fears of Halloween Sadism combined with the very real tragedies of the Adam Walsh kidnapping in 1981 and the Tylenol poisonings in 1982 drove Halloween celebrations indoors to school gymnasiums, park district field houses and parties at home.

Some trick or treating continued, but the kids were likely to be driven door to door by their parents to areas parents knew and trusted. Halloween as I had known it seemed to be dying.

We moved further into the country in the 1990s and rarely saw trick or treaters. One Halloween, I arrived home from work and noticed a big, black Mercedes purring down our long driveway.

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Yes, I thought, Halloween by anyone’s understanding is nearing death when trick or treating is conducted out of the back seat of a Mercedes!

But then….

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Apparently, this was just another one of my Halloween miscalculations.

Happy Halloween, 2014!






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6 thoughts on “Halloween History

  1. Well done, Marge. We used to go out for hours, my mum always made popcorn balls (about 50-75). I hated getting peanuts, or apples. It always seemed as if there was a phantom house that gave away chocolate bars; we never found it. Where we live now we may get 8 kids. They are lucky, why? Because we give out full sized chocolate bars.

  2. Thanks, Patricia! Yes, we hated anything that didn’t have the potential to put you in a diabetic coma! We were only allowed to eat one piece of candy per week (on Monday night when my mom went to bowling night) and our Halloween candy lasted until Easter.

  3. Great post, Marge! We got two trick or treaters last night. For the past two years we bought packets of cookies in anticipation of the night and we ended up eating them for a year! Around here the churches and organizations have functions instead of kids trick or treating. The fifties were the good old days!

  4. Thanks, Sally! I think there are thousands of Chicago families returning unopened bags of candy to the stores this weekend. Our Halloween was cold, rainy, snowy and very windy and not trick or treater friendly!

  5. Nice combination of story and image, Marge. I experienced the same hordes of trick-or-treaters when we lived in graduate student housing at the University of Minnesota. Now I live in a building where the doorman gives out treats. Just not the same.

  6. Thanks, Nancy! It is a different world. At least trick or treating is still done in person. Someday, there will probably “be an app for that”.

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