How To Talk To Your Kids About Halloween

It’s been 3 years since Westport has celebrated a proper Halloween.

Last year’s holiday was knocked silly by Superstorm Sandy.

The year before, it was a big-ass late-October snowstorm.

Halloween, 2011

Halloween, 2011

When you’re a little kid — say, 5 or 6 — 3 years is a long time. You can’t remember to tie your shoes or where you put your juice pack, so recalling what Halloween is like — forget it.

Today, Westport children may need a little ‘splainin’. You know: the hows and whys of this peculiarly American holiday. Tell them:

  • It may not seem like it, but Halloween is for kids. Once upon a time, parents’ involvement was simple. Mom sewed a goblin costume, while Dad checked the loot for razors hidden in apples. Nowadays, it’s much more complicated. Mom buys intricate costumes, while Dad sets up a bar to serve all the other moms and dads as they accompany their kids everywhere. It’s a stress-filled day.
  • Oh, and all those decorations in the yard? Cobwebs, skeletons, witches’ brews? They’re not real. They’re not even there to scare the crap out of anyone. They’re just to impress the neighbors.

Halloween decorations

  • Speaking of neighbors, the reason we pile into cars is not to go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house. It is to maximize the time/candy ratio. Studies have shown it is far more efficient to drive a couple of miles to neighborhoods with densely packed homes (email “06880” for a secret map!) than to trudge walk drive from house to house in otherwise highly regarded 1- and 2-acre-zoned areas.
  • “Trick or treat” once meant, “give me candy or I will throw toilet paper on your trees.” As trick-or-treaters morphed from tweens to teenagers, it meant, “give me candy or I will smash your pumpkin.” Now it means simply, “Give me candy. And it better be good.”

All of which explains why Mommy and Daddy need those drinks.

6 responses to “How To Talk To Your Kids About Halloween

  1. One HUGE change from the “good old days” is that you are not meeting, greeting, and giving candy to your neighborhood kids, you are “treating” kids you never met from miles and towns away.
    Give em your address, Dan…good concentration of donors and ample parking.

  2. Halloween, my favorite holiday, was never about the candy at least for me, after all, my parents owned the Ice Cream Parlor and I always had ample access. Rather it was about the thrill of practising an alter ego, tripping through the night unaccompanied by parents always with a frisson of chills from the impending expectation of encounters of the ghostly kind. These visions lurked in imagination, behind every tree. There were two shifts as it were. An early foray at twilight and a late one as soon as it was sufficiently dark. Two costumes were donned alternately on that sacred night, one for each shift, both very different so as to defy detection of my true identity by the neighbors. Both were classically scary, no superheroes or princesses, rather the favored witch complete with a green mask from Maclellans 5&10, ghost, and or devil, classic Halloween! The evening concluded with a dare to step inside the old abandoned and forsaken Hawthorne Inn that stood about where, just above and next store to what is now the Trader Joe’s parking lot. Featuring the requisite boarded windows and ashen pallor, this old mansion was rumored to be haunted adding to the thrill of the night.

  3. Morning! Please send me the secret map 🙂

    Thanks, Amy

    Amy Katz World Packaging Corp. “Clik Clak” 300 Wilson Avenue Norwalk, CT 06854 212-260-6882

    From: 06880 Reply-To: 06880 Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 5:00 AM To: Amy Katz Subject: [New post] How To Talk To Your Kids About Halloween Dan Woog posted: “It’s been 3 years since Westport has celebrated a proper Halloween. Last year’s holiday was knocked silly by Superstorm Sandy. The year before, it was a big-ass late-October snowstorm. When you’re a little kid — say, 5 or 6 — 3 years is a l”

  4. Hope Napelbaum Clark

    I also remember having a UNICEF box and ringing doorbells and saying “trick or treat for UNICEF ” . We carried a little plastic pumpkin or small bag to collect candy, not a pillow case like the kids do nowadays. In my neighborhood now parents are tailgating in their front yards, you can get beer , wine and pizza. Not sure what the kids are doing but it seems the parents are all having a good time .

  5. I don’t want to be a spoil sport, but what happened to theose wonderful orange UNCIF boxes that the children presented for trick or treat. We dropped in our nickels to help those poor children overseas who needed our help just for living. Children learned about the world and about sharing their “treats” with all the children less fortunate than them. Our children do not need more candy and sweets, they need to be aware of the world arond them.

  6. Britt Anderson

    Regarding UNICEF boxes – the best house was on Harding Lane. An older gentleman and his wife lived there and he would wait for a bunch of children, turn out the light in the driveway and toss handfuls of change out and then turn on the lights. It was a mad scramble for pennies, nickels, dimes and, if you were really lucky, a quarter or two. The most fun!!