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I turned 36 last week, and while many people would say “that isn’t really old,” I sure feel old when I think about how much Trick or Treating has changed over the past 30 years or so. Raising a pair of daughters in 2012 and beyond, gone is much of the spooky fun that was experienced as a child growing up in the 80s.

Trick or Treating took place on Halloween – a rain-or-shine affair – that would proceed regardless of whether or not the holiday fell on a “school night.” The biggest difference I can think of is that Trick or Treating took place when it was dark outside. It was something to look forward to, and if you happened to be in school, you’d count down the hours until it was time to get home. By the time you were off the bus, it was already getting dark, and from there you’d make your way through the neighborhood, searching for a bounty of candy well into the night. Our parents went with us as we made our way down streets that were littered with fallen leaves  that would crunch under foot, deposited by tall, old trees. With the smell of Fall in the air, we’d make our way by the light of glow sticks (and the occasional streetlamp) toward dimly-lit porches that bore the flicker of Jack ‘O Lanterns illuminated by real candles.

Those days are long since gone where we live in Illinois, and this year is a prime example of just how much things have changed.

Trick or Treating is today – three days before Halloween, on a Sunday afternoon. In broad daylight.

Sure, it’s fun for the little ones, and it’s undoubtedly safer, despite the fact that parents should always accompany their children while Trick or Treating. But that spookiness is still missing. What I fear is that current and future generations will miss out on the fun of that underlying evil that once embodied the true “spirit” of Halloween. Call me old fashioned.

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