Halloween has changed throughout the years, from plastic masks in the 70’s to children’s costumes that can cost almost $100 today. Looking back with fond memories can put things back into perspective this holiday season, and maybe even bring back some traditions that have long been forgotten.
In the 70’s Halloween was somehow simpler, less stressful and more about families. Something as simple as using a pillow case for trick or treating can elevate the kids street walking into good old-fashioned fun with the ultimate in multi-purposing, in this day of living ‘green.’ Back then, children went in groups door to door in their own neighborhood, while mom stayed at home to pass out candy. Speaking of candy, back in that wonderful decade children came home from trick or treating, and dumped the candy on the floor in the living room, and mom would remove all the apples for fear of a razor blade. Wrappers were given a quick inspection for rips and pin holes, if they were found, out they went.
In the 80’s kids delighted in listening to, or watching Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, eating pure sugar out of paper tubes, while getting ready to go out with friends for hours of neighborhood trick or treating. The costumes of this decade were the homemade kind, such as ghosts out of old sheets, or hobo’s fashioned from torn and intentionally dirty clothes. As in the 70’s candy was checked and apples were thrown out, and kids stayed up half the night eating as much as possible until they fell asleep. The fun was all in the running around with friends and no parents, neighborhoods were filled with unsupervised groups of children. Many families had Halloween parties just for the kids, with candy apples and a punch bowl with drinks that would spill over with the ghostly fog from the dry ice.
The 90’s is the time when Halloween lovers spent hours in front of the TV watching everything from the re-boot of the classic Dark Shadows to ones favorite sitcom like Cheers. Costumes were inspired by the hit shows of this decade, and girls could be seen everywhere as Alicia Silverstone in Clueless. The younger girls found the Powerpuff Girls all the rage, and it became one of the most popular costumes of its time. Another popular animated show was Daria, and young girls found it easy to pull off the plaid skirt, glasses and bored expression. Boys were drawn to the ever popular Fresh Prince of Belair. By this time the candy givers had gotten a bit bolder, and it was common place to take the kids bags of candy to the local police department to be run through the medal detector. Every piece of candy whose wrapper even remotely did not look in tact was thrown away.
Today, parents rarely let the children walk alone during trick or treating, preferring to keep to what they might deem as safe houses, or taking them to police sanctioned Halloween events. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and numerous other groups and communities have their own sanctioned activities, such as the ever popular Trunk or Treat. Times have changed as have those who would do harm to children, and safety rather than a good old-fashioned sugar binge, is the way of Halloween today.
by Kristi Cereska