Olden Days

There are writing prompts for teachers designed to help students focus on their schoolwork during the month of Halloween. I read that students are so  distracted by candy and costumes that they check out and it’s hard to hold their attention in class.

I can believe that.

When I was a kid me and my friends started planning for Halloween sometime towards the end of September and by Halloween we were out of our minds withe excitement and that was BEFORE we downed all that sugar.

But I wonder- do kids really get that excited over Halloween anymore?

I know that for a while  going to the Malls and trick or treating was a big deal – but it was THE MALL. People sent their kids into stores to trick or treat cashiers. I know that some of my friends who worked at the Malls when this started thought it was fun.  I thought it was sad. I thought it was the end of Halloween.

When me and my friends went out on Halloween night it was cold and it was really very dark because the neighborhoods I lived in were packed with evergreen trees and not  packed with a lot of street lights.

I remembered that the  leaves seemed to die and fall Halloween morning and I remember how satisfying it was when they would crunch under your feet as you raced along the sidewalk and across streets to houses with pumpkins that had been carved without the help of stencils and pumpkin carving tools that look like surgical instruments except for they are orange and made out of plastic and those things are small and …and they’re made out of PLASTIC for goodness sakes.

Anything made to carve and cut a Halloween decoration  needs  to be made of well sharpened stainless steel because nothing beats getting to use  THE BIG KNIFE  to carve a Halloween pumpkin – especially if you’re a kid and your Dad let’s you hold the knife as he guides it through the pumpkin’s flesh and all on your own he let’s you scoop out the insides with your Mom’s favorite soup ladle.

Me and my friends  agonized over days trying to decide what we wanted be for Halloween

 When I was really little the costumes were old school- we had those plastic masks that came in boxes with a matching plastic costume- I always wanted to be a dog or a princess…bet you didn’t see that coming did you?

One year I was Casper The Friendly Ghost my Aunt Sharon helped me pick it out. I’m pretty sure I only got it because she loved Casper and I wanted to make her happy. However-I was mortified the entire night.

Even the nifty Trick or Treat Bag she made for me didn’t  help me feel better about the sad situation I found myself in.

 Ghosts as far as I was concerned were not friendly. I figured if a real ghost saw me it would die- again-laughing  when it saw me.  The next year I refused the Witch costume when my Mom pointed it out at the store  because I thought witches were real too and what would happen if I got mistaken for one?

I could get burned at the stake or hung and not only would I be dead I wouldn’t get to eat my candy.

However one year I did give in and let myself get put into a  Vampire costume because I was sure they weren’t real. Plus it was a boy’s costume and I liked that because I got to wear my boots with my costume.

Do kids go through that Drama anymore?

I mean, how thrilling is t to go to the Mall and trick or treat the lady who sells cheese and sausage gift baskets? The cashier at the shoe store or the guy at the camping gear store? And don’t get me started on Green Halloween and Healthy Halloween snacks and Harvest Festivals where you can’t dress up like the Devil but you can dress up like a clown or a scarecrow.

I wouldn’t trust the person who made that one up, I’ll say that outright. That is a weird call.

But I wonder.

Just before Halloween, on their way home from school,  do kids still point houses that could be haunted? Gardens where someone could be hiding dead bodies that are being turned into Zombies and was that sound you heard the night before spaceships from Uranus ( yeah, well- we weren’t always serious when we discussed monsters ).

Or do they talk ( on cell phones ) about computer games where you know for sure you can find haunted houses or Zombies or Space Aliens.

So I wonder- do kids really get  distracted from their schoolwork  by Halloween?

I hope so.

I really do.

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