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Halloween traditions: Then and now


Halloween is becoming quite the American holiday – and not just for children. 

Just look at the myriad of events in our own community: haunted houses, downtown trick-or-treat, harvest parties, a Halloween Hoedown, a Ghost Express at the Stout Mountain Railroad, and much, much more. (See our list on the front page of the Coastal Living section.)

We’ve seen some surveys that more than half of adults will dress up in some sort of costume this weekend or Monday – whether it’s for a Halloween party or some sort of “alternative” harvest party.

For older generations, Halloween brings back some fond memories of traditions that are falling by the wayside. 

Gone are the days when small gangs of children were let loose to go trick-or-treating through the neighborhood on their own, begging treats from strangers. Gone are the days when the best treats children could score were homemade popcorn balls or anything else that came without a commercial wrapper. Can you imagine the commotion if any child carried out the “trick” part of the “trick or treat” greeting by soaping a window or tipping over a trash can?

Parents – or make that society as a whole – have deemed these Halloween practices of the past generations unsafe, unsanitary and unwelcome.

We think trick-or-treat had some good sides. While today’s parents are indeed protecting children from possible harm by bad neighbors, they are also isolating them from learning how to judge and trust all the good neighbors. The children’s knowledge of who lives where and gives the best treats was a good thing – once upon a time.

We can’t argue with putting safety first, however. With that in mind, today’s Halloween package also includes ideas to make certain everyone has a safe celebration.



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