Historical Fiction — The Halloween Factor

Halloween comes from hallow (or holy) eve, and represented the night before November 1st, which is All Saint’s Day, which started in the 8th century. Sometimes spooky things (e.g., gargoyles) were used to scare away evil things so All Saint’s Day would be clean, a tradition carried over, most likely, from the Celts who celebrated their new year after the harvest was gathered, on November 1.

In my grandfather’s teen-time, Halloween was a time for playing jokes on neighbors, like putting their outhouse (privy, porta potty) up on the house roof and having hot cider and homemade doughnuts. In my father’s youth, Halloween was the time for popcorn balls and wearing creepy masks to scare the daylights out of younger children. When I was an adolescent, Halloween was the time for trick-or-treating door-to-door (with out parental supervision) while in costume, and collecting either candy, an apple, or penny for UNICEF from strangers. When my boys were young, Halloween was a time to pass out candy from our house and go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood for about an hour, and then come home to check for razor blades or opened candy packages. Today, Halloween is about cars set up in a parking lot and kids going from car trunk to car trunk to get candy and having a full bagload in thirty minutes.

Even though my husband and I have loved participating in Halloween activities, spooky music and decorations and candy and toy choices for doorbell ringers, we have noticed that there are fewer and fewer kids coming door-to-door for candy from strangers. Why would they want to when they can do all their free-candy-getting in a parking lot or go buy a bag of their favorite kind themselves?

Historical fiction is interesting – what people did. Science Fiction is curious – what people might do.

With the gory horror films available today to people of all ages, what does a scary mask do for the scare factor? And who or what gets scared away? With bags of candy so available in stores, why get a bunch of stuff you don’t even like? Neighborhoods have changed. Kids don’t play outside much any more. Free-range kids are turned in to police. It all makes me wonder…

What will Halloween look like in 2050?

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