Tomorrow is National Kids’ Day, otherwise known as Halloween. If you are like me, you have purchased your favorite candy in hopes that even one little witch or wizard comes by.
We all have a Plan B, which is to eat whatever candy is not given out. I think back to when I was a kid and all you had to do was put your costume on and head out to the neighbor’s houses for free candy. What a great gig that was. In today’s world, parents must search for organized events and sanctioned neighborhoods for trick-or-treating fun. This involves getting into the car and traveling to over-crowded destinations with kids who have been jammed into uncomfortable costumes. Blah!
This year, though, I have stacked the deck in my favor. I chased a couple of neighborhood kids on their bikes, breathlessly asked them what their favorite candy was, then told them if they showed up at my house on Halloween, I would have full-sized Skittles and Reese’s waiting for them. I also told them to tell all their friends. That’s how you do Halloween folks, you now have to beg the kids to come to your homes to beg you for candy. This Halloween thing may have gone awry along the way.
With origins dating back 2000 years, Halloween has been one of the most transformative holidays. Said to have originated with the Celtic people who were paying homage to the dead on the eve of All Souls Day, aka All Saints Day, you can see where ghosts, witches and goblins have been thrown into the mix. The trick-or-treat part is easy to figure out: “Give me your candy, or I will TP your house!” And that is a direct quote from a salty kid along the way, I am sure. I like the simplicity of Halloween. You can just throw a skeleton on the door, put some candy in a bowl and call it good except, if you have young kids then you probably should put forth a greater effort.
Though I did try to provide my children with the traditional Halloween experience I had when they were younger, times have changed, and we were forced to partake in Trunk-or-Treats. These events, in a nutshell, are where automobiles of all types assemble, back in, and expose their scary car trunks to costumed little devils. So, instead of them coming to your homes for candy, they just arrive at a church or parking lot somewhere and do their bidding there, outside of your vehicles. This is what we did with our “littles” for many years and the upside would be they can get their candy, hayrides, costume contests, etc. at one venue. The downside, which I have mentioned, is that hundreds of other families are doing the same thing right alongside you.
The other Floridaish Halloween activity we found to do was fall camping. We did this at Siesta Key a few years back. The first year we went alone, then friends joined in and it became something special. Now, some of these same friends still go and we haven’t, but the tradition lives on and I love that. I’ll always look back fondly on waking up right next to the beach and participating in the fun activities that were well-organized. It was so cute seeing the kids dress up and tromp toward the sunset, hitting each and every RV and tent along the way. What a cool way to collect candy.
And just how will you be celebrating this Halloween, Sarasota? We hope you all have the best time with your little princesses and frankensteins. Please don’t forget the special trick-or-treaters who might ring your doorbell. Blue pumpkin candy buckets have come to signify that a person with autism might be in the group of children. If they appear too old to be there or are not thanking you or making eye contact, don’t take any of that personally. Similarly, there is the Teal Bucket Project, officially recognized in 2014, to spotlight those who have allergies and cannot consume the same treats as others. Please visit Teal Pumpkin Project to learn more. Both projects promote inclusivity and allow all children to participate in the age-old tradition of trick-or-treating. There is a lot to remember, but perhaps the biggest takeaway from Halloween is that at least we don’t have to buy presents. That is a holiday I can totally get behind. Booyah, Sarasota Post readers!
Photos courtesy of 31 Nights of Halloween FB.