It’s just before dusk on Halloween Night; I've got a candy bowl filled with treats and even a few extra bags unopened just in case I need more. I hear a few kids on the candy hunt already getting the night started. My doorbell rings, “Trick-or-Treat!” then it rings a couple more times, then it stops. I walk out to the sidewalk and look up and down the street.
“Where are all the Trick-or-Treaters?”
Over the past few years I’ve noticed a similar trend in the decline of trick-or-treaters going around the neighborhood. At first I thought maybe this was just me, and maybe everyone else had different experiences, but after talking to many residents from Cerritos, Artesia, and other surrounding cities most had similar experiences on Halloween.
Artesia and Cerritos Residents Have Noticed a Drastic Decline
“My house is usually the only one on the block that is decorated for Halloween,” said Artesia resident Jessica Murillo. “I’ve noticed that less and less kids show up to my house and we give out less candy.”
Longtime Cerritos resident Samuel Sanchez, who's lived in the city for more than 30 years, says he's noticed a drastic decline in trick-or-treating activity over the last ten years.
"My wife and I used to buy at least two bags of candy and sometimes we'd even feel bad when we ran out of stuff to give," Sanchez said. "But starting about 10 years ago, we noticed there's not many kids around on Halloween anymore. We even left the candy out on the porch one year and no one picked it up!"
Sanchez went on to say that about five years ago, his granddaughter even stopped trick-or-treating in their neighborhood because all the lights would be dark.
"She started going to her other grandparents house in Huntington Beach because she says they give 'big candy' bars," he said with a chuckle. "I think it's sad that our neighborhood doesn't really participate in Halloween. My wife and I used to enjoy seeing the kids all dressed up and excited for candy."
But Sanchez and Murillo's accounts were just a few of many similar sentiments shared.
It seems like trick-or-treating has just become a lost art. I’m not talking about going around the block once with your parents trick-or-treating and calling it a night. I'm talking about that labor intensive "I’ve been out since dusk and it’s past 10 p.m., my feet hurt, and I’ve sweated off all the clown makeup" kind of trick-or-treating. What happened to those days?
I hate to sound cliché, but when I was a kid my cousins and I would go out trick-or-treating and we wouldn’t come home until we had enough candy to last us until well past New Year's. I really don’t know why trick-or-treating is down. Maybe parents have become more paranoid about letting their kids out, maybe Halloween has become more about parties with sexy costumes ... or maybe there’s an App for that? Whatever the reason is it’s just not happening much anymore and it’s killing a fun tradition that I was very fond of as a child.
Perhaps a Carnival or Two Instead?
A few parents have told me that instead of the traditional trick-or-treating rounds, they elect to take their kids to city sponsored events and carnivals because they are also a lot of fun, and safer.
. Yet other parents have told me they make it a point to take their kids through the neighborhood, the old-fashioned way.
In my opinion, it seems like both would go hand-in-hand perfectly with each other and shouldn’t be a cause for this decline in trick-or-treating.
Some Are Banning Halloween? Seriously?
If you search the internet you’ll find stories about counties and cities banning Halloween, putting a curfew as to how late kids can be out, and even putting an age cap saying that 14 years old is too old for trick-or-treating. There has even been some debate in certain areas of the country as to when to celebrate Halloween depending on what day of the week it falls on. This anti-Halloween sentiment is probably a more direct cause for the slowing signs of trick-or-treaters more than anything else.
In all honesty I’m not a parent so when Halloween is on a weekend and someone I know is having a party my priorities shift from passing out candy to party mode, but this year Halloween is on a Monday and having such fond memories about a day dedicated to candy and fun that often gets a bad rap, I am making it a point to get into the spirit.
Come On, Just Get Off the Couch and Pass Out Candy!
So this Halloween I will fill up my candy bowl to the rim, tune into the Chargers and Chiefs on Monday Night Football, and happily pass out candy to trick-or-treaters in between challenges, touchdown confirmations, and bogus roughing the passer penalties. Be it two kids or 40, or a dozen 16-year-olds, or three dozen toddlers that come to my door, they will each get a handful of candy from my bowl and a smile. Come on now, it's Halloween!
So stop being a Halloween scrooge and go out and spend that $10 at The Dollar Tree on a couple bags of candy. Turn the lights on the porch, maybe even throw out a pumpkin by the door to let em know you've got the spirit, and bring back a little holiday tradition into the neighborhood!