Friday was the day after Halloween, and our bowl of candy sat as full as it had been on Thursday morning. Halloween night had brought only one Trick-or-Treater to our door. I had heard more children outside, families venturing halfway down the dimly lit block to houses nearby, but they avoided ours – or just didn’t quite come close enough to knock on our door.
Ever since moving to Medford seven years ago, I’ve seen Halloween participation dwindle. Why is that? Are kids just not that interested in it? Do I live on a crummy block? Do parents not want to knock on a door with a Black Lives Matter sign?
When we were children, Halloween was full of life. I think back to the Edwards’ house, decorated with gravestones and lights, and the volunteer firefighters in costume chasing teenage tough guys with a chainsaw. It was wild, but it was fun. It was an opportunity to step outside your door and interact with other people.
I don’t bemoan changing times, or chastise parents who are hesitant to let their children take candy from strangers. Halloween is a weird tradition, if you step outside of it: people go from door to door asking for candy, and expect to receive it. The people behind those doors know they should have something ready to share. How did all of this become a thing that people do?
But it’s also incredible, to know that on one night, millions of people are putting on masks, changing into other entities and doing the same thing you’re doing: ringing a doorbell and asking the person who answers, “Trick or treat?”