Originally posted October 30, 2004 this piece for me captures the Halloween I grew up with so different from the one my kids celebrate today.
I love autumn. Here in Southern California it signals the beginning of the Santa Ana’s a warm sometimes dangerous wind that blows across the desert and down through the canyons. I love the smell of the air, I love the crisp cool nights and most especially I love the changing leaves as cycle through their green, red and orange color scheme.
As a kid, like most of us, here in the states especially I loved Halloween. Letting your childish imagination run wild one night out of the year. Picking a costume that either reflected what was popular or how creative you could be.
That is one area in which I feel sorry for the kids of today. It seems that costume manufacturers have sucked most of the creativity out of the holiday. Where in my youth the streets would be filled with a dazzling array of homemade costumes, today it seems that nine out of ten kids arrive wearing a pre-manufactured character of the moment. Never knowing the joy and excitement one can feel when their own costume idea comes to life before their eyes as they prepare for weeks in anticipation of the big day.
Back in the day the treats were also a lot more plentiful. Before candy makers discovered the profitability in making bite size bars houses used to hand out full sized Milky Way’s and Hershey Chocolate Bars. It was a chocolate lovers paradise. Now days most kids come home with a bag of candy bits or pieces of gum nothing like the treasure troves I remember.
Best of all was being able to walk the streets for hours combing the neighborhoods far and wide searching for that special Halloween treat. If we were lucky there would be a warm Santa Ana wind blowing, maybe a few clouds in the sky and a beautiful full moon lighting the pathways we followed on our big adventure.
Being Catholic there was the added benefit of November 1st being a school holiday. Though All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation to us kids it meant an hour of church and a whole day free to dive into our Halloween Treats.
2 weeks ago