Stangl

Well, Halloween and fall are over, Christmas and winter are coming up soon. Oh, and there’s that slight detour for Thanksgiving to deal with as well.

I hope you had a great Halloween. It was certainly brisk out trick or treating with our 5-year-old granddaughter, Sera. This was the second year my wife and I got to go out with the grandkids and it is always a good time seeing the world through the eyes of a child.

Sera dressed as Merida, the princess from “Brave,” a 2012 Pixar movie. We circumnavigated her neighborhood until her bucket got full and became “too heavy.” We returned home so she could have four pieces of candy, something to drink and work on her homework.

It was a great evening. Sera did well with a few scary situations and remembered most of the time to say “trick or treat” and more importantly, “thank you” at each home.

But my mind wandered a bit as it does since I reached late middle age. I wondered why there weren’t more children out working the streets for candy. Sure, it was a Thursday night and a bit colder than normal, but there was FREE CANDY available for the asking.

I began thinking about my children’s childhoods and my own and realized that getting a bag of free candy simply isn’t as special as it was when I was a child.

Then I realized I was old.

Because when I was a kid, Halloween was one of three times in the year that I had easy access to candy. Christmas and Easter were the other two opportunities, but Halloween was by far the greatest candy holiday. Why? Because the amount of candy you could get was up to you. If you got out as soon as supper was over, kept moving door to door, you could work a lot of doors before the lights went out after 8 p.m. In many ways, Halloween in those days was the ultimate candy capitalism holiday for children. If you put in the time, you got the goods.

As the fifth of six children, candy was a treat that rarely came into our lives. I never went without a meal and had a chance at a bottle of pop or a bowl of ice cream every now and then. Mom made popcorn on the stove several nights a week, which was great, but never a Snickers bar.

So, when Halloween came around, we literally went to town.

In those days in a town of 1,600 people, it was not uncommon for children to be seen wandering all over town without supervision. It was what we did. Our moms, busy cleaning and cooking wanted us out of the house so they could get their many tasks accomplished.

Contrast that with today when we feel the need to have devices that can be tracked on our children on the off chance they are able to shake their parental bodyguards. Candy is plentiful and readily available, but rationed to avoid issues with weight gain and behavior.

As much as it pains me to say this, I think Halloween as I knew it is dead.

It’s probably for the best, but you can’t blame a boomer for mourning.

One last fun size Snickers for the road, please.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.