I was diagnosed as Type-1 Diabetic at the age of four, so Halloween has never really held an important place in my life. After all, the eating of chocolate and candy wasn’t exactly permitted, unless I was having a low, and my older brother was always too sick to go walking for long distances from door-to-door. So the concept of spending time, money and effort on a costume, just to go out and gather treats from other people never appealed to me as a child. It appeals to me even less as an adult, but it’s no longer about me. It’s about my children.
This year, Halloween has taken a severe kick in the candy-corn since social distancing requirements are as such that trick-or-treating is basically an unessential and frivolous risk when faced with the possibility of walking up to someone’s door to get a freakin’ Kit-Kat bar. Despite this fact, many parents decided to allow their children to go trick-or-treating, last Saturday. There are two schools of thought on this: some believe the risk isn’t worth it (and they’d be right) while others believe that our children shouldn’t be made to suffer because of what’s currently going on in the world (and they’re also right).
The concept of going door-to-door is a relatively recent one, tracing its roots to the early 1900’s when candy companies sought to cash in on the trend of trick-or-treating. According to an article posted by thekitchn.com, candy companies established a sort of “Candy Day,” which was usually observed on the second Saturday of October. This lasted until the 1970’s when the handing out of candy was seen as the most economic means of celebrating and the trick aspect mostly gave way to receiving the treat.
The term “trick or treat” first appeared in print in Canada in the late 1920’s. The idea behind the term was a subtle hint that if the homeowner didn’t provide a treat, a trick would be played through some form of mischief. Halloween, in fact, originally had nothing to do with going door-to-door for candy. This is a shiny aspect that was generously created by the candy companies in order to make money. And make money, they do!
But according to a detailed article posted by History.com, Halloween traces its origins to the Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. There’s obviously a bit more involved in it than that, but feel free to click the link to read the article for deeper details. Despite how long-winded my writing becomes, the purpose of this post isn’t actually a history lesson.
This year, my wife and I had a good conversation with our 5-year old and had him understand that due to the COVID-19 virus, that we wouldn’t be going door-to-door to trick-or-treat and rather, we would purchase a couple of boxes of treats and celebrate at home. We gorged ourselves on chips and candy bars (a great challenge for my pump, I might add) and our son was none the less enthused about Halloween as a result. It was a great alternative to exposing ourselves unnecessarily, and our kids still got to enjoy some Halloween candy.
Although this was a pretty simple and common-sense method of adhering to social distancing, we were somewhat surprised to see that some children still came to our door. We could have been grumps and refused to open the door but Nathan, in his generous nature, offered to share from his treat stash so that these kids would be able to partake as well. Many parents would argue that they have a right to allow their children to do as they please, especially on Halloween. I would assume those parents are also anti-vaxxers.
Yes, eventually we need to return to, or establish, some level of normalcy as everyone can’t live behind closed doors for the remainder of human history. But at the same time, there are some things that should be recognized as unnecessary in order to reduce risk of exposure. Getting groceries or picking up prescriptions are a necessity. Sending your kids out into the cold to intentionally interact with multiple households is not. Simply food for thought. Or rather, candy for thought… ☯