Do You Trick or Treat?

Halloween, Trick or treat, Kingston, OntarioI grew up in the 80s and 90s in a suburban neighbourhood in Hamilton. Neighbouring houses were only a few feet apart, local schools were a mere block or two away and probably about 80% of the houses had families with children. Every Halloween, our street would be filled with ghosts and witches of all ages and just about every house participated. Some homes were decorated to the nines with spooky music coming from inside, scarecrows on the porch and some even offered treats like hot apple cider (at least that’s what my dad said it was) to cold, tolerant parents.

While collecting as much candy as possible was obviously a primary concern for kids of that era, the social aspect and the thrill of heading out after dark were key components of the Halloween experience. It seems that over the years the traditional Halloween of my childhood has begun to disappear. In some cities like Burlington, ON trick or treating actually begins the weekend before Halloween at local malls and in shops on the main drag so tiny ghosts and goblins can trick or treat during the daytime. In other cities, mostly in the United States, trick-or-treat times are assigned to various stores and even neighbourhoods. Why does it have to be so complicated?

In my own neighbourhood in downtown Kingston, fewer and fewer kids seem to come each year, and rarely in the big groups I remember traveling in. And yet, we are surrounded by schools and families living nearby. One of the main problems is a lack of participation from my immediate neighbours. I always feel a little let down, getting my decorations up ahead of time, carving my pumpkin and sometimes even dressing up myself. I set up shop near the door with my bowl of candy to have only a dozen or so kids come knocking. We broached this subject a few years back and a majority of you said you do participate. This week we want you to know if that’s still the case (and if so, can you come to my house?!)

[poll id=”338″]

What was your Halloween experience growing up? Was it similar to mine or completely different? How does that affect how you feel about the holiday today? If you’re not  participant, what is it that makes you turn off your lights on the 31st? Are you enjoying your own Halloween fun at a party or local watering hole? Or maybe you’re just not a fan of the holiday, and I suppose that’s OK. Perhaps your experience in your neighbourhood is totally different than mine and you do find yourself shelling out candy every few minutes. Drop off some comments below and share your past and current Halloween experience with us.

Thanks to Yutaka Seki for today’s photo.

Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

One thought on “Do You Trick or Treat?

  • I grew up in New Hampshire in the '80s and early '90s. On Halloween night, between about 6.00 and 8.00 (entirely after dark, at any rate), every kid in town would dress up and go into the village and make the rounds of most of the houses that were within walking distance, probably 50 or 60 houses. I can only ever remember one or two houses that did not receive trick-or-treaters, and they usually left a note saying they were out of town (which did not necessarily spare them reprisals). There were a few old ladies who prepared their own treats, like candied apples or popcorn balls, which I always appreciated (even though my juvenile palate probably preferred the more heavily sweetened store-bought candy). We lived in the country (as did most kids), so our parents would drop us off in the village and then go home to mind their own candy basket, just in case someone popped into our place (which only happened about once a year, since our house was tucked way back in the woods). I remember always being very cold by the end of the night and going home to a mug of hot cider, lovingly prepared by our mother.
    Nowadays, in my hometown, I think it's much the same, although they may have moved the hours up slightly.

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!