17 November 2010
Stores fill display shelves to the brim, kids concoct ideas of whom or what they’ll be, parents coordinate routes and assign duties, and neighbors decorate their houses as if to show welcome signs, all in the spirit of Halloween. The holiday seems to be one of the less meaningful ones, but so much fun is associated with it. Preparations start way in advance and the after effects (oodles of candy) fill many children’s hearts with joy and mouths with cavities long after the 31. Is it too much of a build up though? Is the anticipation a waste?
After this past Halloween, loads of students commented on similar happenings – mainly the lack of trick-or-treaters compared to previous years. This could be seen in Lake Monticello as small groups and singular children intermittently ran into each other. Homeowners who participated in the treat giving commented on it themselves, and quite a few of them gave each kid extra candy because they didn’t expect to see many more. One homeowner said, “It’s a quiet night; isn’t it?” And it was; there wasn’t the usual hustle and bustle of kids on the streets and giggling or choruses of “trick-or-treat!” ringing out.
One has to wonder why? The excitement about Halloween is the same as ever, yet the tradition has died down. A notable possibility is the neighborhoods’ limited hours for the event. Lake Monticello’s schedule was 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.. A full two hours and 45 minutes of that allocated time was daylight, which can definitely take away the spooky spirit. It probably doesn’t help that Halloween tends to fall on a school night either. Parents don’t want to send sleepy kids who haven’t done their homework to school.
On the flip side though, this has been a chronic issue through the years and the decrease seems only to have occurred lately. FCHS Senior Leah Dreher said, “I think if my drive wasn’t so long I would have probably seen some trick-or-treaters, instead of staring at a full bowl of candy.” Landscape is something else to consider since this is a rural area in which houses and yards vary in style. Not all tots can tread up hills, through thickets, and branches just for a fun size Snickers bar to reward their effort.
There very well may be nothing to lure in numerable scores of trick-or-treaters, but those who continue door to door are enjoying Halloween’s splendors as usual. Even teens joined in, as many students still trick-or-treat (albeit illegally) or at least dress up. Junior Zoe Jones said, “I love Halloween because I feel like everyone is very festive…and I love the colors.” A warm and fuzzy confidence boost might be all that is needed to shove Halloween back to its former rank.
Sydney Valenzuela is a senior at Fluvanna County High School and a member of the Beta Club. She hopes to attend a university in London next fall to study film.