Tomorrow is Halloween, a holiday that used to be a fun time for kids, but has been ruined by religious zealots and sick sociopaths who get their jollies putting poison and needles into candy bars and apples.
As a kid, I can remember hitting the street just as twilight began and roaming the neighborhood for hours, ringing doorbells and screaming “Trick or treat” when the homeowners opened the door. There was a ritual to be followed – they would ooh and ahh over our homemade costumes, then drop a piece of candy or two into our paper bags, we’d say thank you, and rush off to the next house for more goodies.
We’d meet our friends on the sidewalk and discuss which houses were giving away the best goodies. Snickers and Three Musketeers candy bars were much favored over apples, to the dismay of our mothers and the delight of our dentists. My favorites were those chocolate coins the size of a silver dollar, wrapped in gold foil. And there was always one house in every neighborhood that gave you a religious tract instead of a piece of candy, and you walked away feeling cheated.
We’d roam the streets until the last porch light was turned off, and then go home to dump our bags on the living room floor and stare at our plunder. We just knew we were rich! As our mom’s warned us not to eat too much candy or we’d get sick, we’d wait until they turned their heads, and cram one more sugary treat into our mouths.
In those days, we’d have been mortified if our parents took us trick or treating anytime after about age 7 or 8. And our parents didn’t feel the need to chaperone us. The bigger kids looked after their younger brothers and sisters, and pedophiles didn’t live in our world.
Yes, those really were the good old days, and I feel sorry for today’s kids, who will never know that freedom, or the magic we felt rushing around in the dark dressed up as pirates, hoboes, and cowboys.
I don’t know when Halloween changed, but the holiday I knew as a kid disappeared a long time ago. It was stolen by the freaks who poison candy, by the fear of some pervert snatching a child off the sidewalk or pulling them into their house, and by religious zealots who have turned an innocent time for children into some form of devil worship.
In my 25 plus years in the community newspaper business, at this time every year I was besieged by letters to the editor from people decrying the holiday because we were teaching our children to worship Satan if we allowed them to go trick or treating. Every newspaper editor I knew, from those on small town weeklies to big city dailies, experienced the same deluge of nonsense. These days they come in as e-mail.
I am just as supportive of the right to freedom of worship as I am to free speech and freedom of the press, but I refused to print any of the goofy letters I got condemning Halloween. I put them in the same circular file where I put the letters from white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the folks who wrote to expose their favorite conspiracy of the week. This would bring accusations that I was denying them their freedom of the press. What most people don’t understand is that while all Americans have freedom of speech, freedom of the press is not guaranteed to everybody, it is guaranteed to those who own a press.
In a time when children are kidnapped walking home from school, or even while asleep in their own beds, a parent would have to be totally insane to allow a child to go out trick or treating without an adult along. That’s really sad. Halloween is supposed to be a time for kids. Can’t we find some way to give it back to them?
Tags: big city daily newspapers, community newspaper business, conspiracy, cowboys, devil worship, free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of worship, Halloween, hoboes, homemade costumes, kidnapped children, kids, letters to the editor, needles in candy bars, neo-Nazis, pedophiles, pervert, pirates, poison candy, Psychos, religious tract, religious zealots, Religous Fanatics, small town weekly newspapers, snatching a child off the sidewalk, Snickers candy bars, sociopaths, Three Musketeers candy bars, Trick or treat, white supremacists, worship Satan