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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Is trick-or-treating a dying Halloween tradition?

Lisa DeMarco

“Do you like trick-or-treating?” I asked a little girl, around my grandson’s age, the other day while we were looking at Halloween costumes in the store. 

“Don’t you mean TRUNK or Treat?” she questioned. 

It took a good minute before it settled in what she had asked. Then, I slowly repeated, “No, I mean TRICK-or-treating?”

To which again she replied, but this time with a bit of sass, “You know it’s TRUNK or treat, right old lady. We don’t say TRICK or treat.”

I was speechless. I did not want to argue with a six-year-old stranger. After a moment, I simply said, “OK,” before turning to walk away. However,  because I suffer from undiagnosed Tourette syndrome, I started to get ticks I didn’t even know I had. Luckily, my grandma brain quickly took charge and forced me to choke down all the inappropriate words that were erupting in my mouth.

I know better, thank goodness. I may have a “Jersey girl mouth,” but I’ve been trained to tone it down when children are around. I know it is not this poor child’s fault that she has been misinformed. I am aware, and I understand, that some children are raised to not celebrate Halloween. Whether for family or personal reasons, it is just not a holiday they participate in. While others, over the decades, have simply molded the holiday into a fun FALL celebration that suits their beliefs and their needs while keeping their children safe during the changing times. Both of which to me are totally acceptable.

However, I do object to this child, a stranger to me, actually having the nerve to question me. First off, because I am older and I know better. Secondly, the meaning of “trick or treating” was carved in stone well before her or her mother were even born. I’m sorry, “TRUNK” or treat would definitely read like a typographical error in my 1970’s time capsule.

Don’t get me wrong, I think all community events and holiday festivities are fantastic. I’m up for celebrating the entire month of October. I enjoy taking my family to locally organized festivals, including pumpkin patches, hayrides, haunted houses, corn mazes, and “Trunk or Treat” events. 

I do not, however, appreciate it when these youngsters try to erase my past and replace it with their new version on Wikipedia.

I guess if I didn’t know any better, then sure, getting the chance to dress up in a costume to safely collect candy on any day would be grand. However, I do know better. I am a true Halloweenie that grew up honoring the holiday. I raised my children to love Halloween, and nothing was better than the old DeMarco Halloween parties. Back in the day, my house looked like it came right out of “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Walking around a large circle in a designated parking lot or field to line up for a piece of candy from someone’s car trunk is not “TRICK OR TREATING!”

When I was a child, the best part of Halloween was the anticipation of going trick or treating. Until high school, I would race home from school on October 31st to quickly change into my costume, grab an old pillowcase to carry my loot and head out to meet up with all my buddies. Then, we would parade down the streets and knock on every inviting door, screaming, “Trick or treat!” 

We’d take advantage of every minute of the day before everyone in the neighborhood either ran out of candy or decided to turn off their porch lights, blow out the jack-o-lanterns, and call it quits to another spooktacular year. 

Then, when I got home, I’d brag about how much candy I collected and how much fun my friends and I had. My mom and dad always had their own stories of the evening to share too. It was customary for me to dump all my candy onto the dining room table to be inspected. Then, my mom would tell tales about all the “cutie pie babies” that came to our door,  while my dad would sort through all my treats to “make sure they were safe” before he started picking out his favorite items.

Great times! Share your childhood memories, even with children that aren’t your own. Help ensure great times and traditions are never forgotten.

 Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com

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