Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hollow Halloween

When I was a kid, I remember my dad taking me and my brother out trick or treating on Halloween.

We’d go around the neighbourhood, door-to-door, yelling out “trick or treat” and happy smiling faces would hand us loads of candies.

We’d often run into other kids in the neighbourhood – our classmates from school – being taking around trick or treating by their parents. We’d then walk together with them, going from house to house, comparing “loot.” Our parents would walk together, talking about parent-type stuff.

It was a nice community feel, that happened once-a-year. You could feel the excitement in the air, not just from us kids collecting candy, but also by the sense of strength that comes from knowing you belong. Everyone was having fun together in the community.

These days, it isn’t safe anymore for kids to go door-to-door. Parents paranoid about what the psychos living next door might be giving out, opt for non-traditional, non-community methods of trick or treating.

Parents these days take their kids to the mall, dressed up in funky outfits. Store clerks hand out candies, coupons and other goodies. Some offices have their annual “bring your kids to work” day on or around Halloween, so that the kids can come into a safe environment and get treats.

In my building, instead of parents taking their kids door-to-door, the property management office hands out goodies to anyone that happens bye.

There is something dreadfully wrong with society, when we can’t trust our neighbours next door. If you really can’t trust those living next to your home – who can you trust?

Where community spirit once was, has now been replaced with fear, paranoia, and the sad realization that our world is no longer a happy, safe and wonderful place to be.

There could be a grow-op with drug dealers next door, a child pornographer, or worse – just some ordinary Joe Average, with an average job and a peaceful life. Nothing wrong with that Joe Average. But you’ll never know who is living next door, because of the fear and paranoia which lurks in the mainstream press.

We’re always reading about some twisted sick people somewhere doing sick twisted crap to some poor sap that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But these news reports taint our vision to the point where everyone is evil. Everyone is out to do no good.

The worst part about all of this isn’t that we can’t live in peace in our own neighbourhoods. Nope – the worst part is the lost community feel – the lost feeling of belonging to something just by being home.

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