Costumes, clowns and other scary fun

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Halloween is likely the scariest day of the year as people of all ages pull out costumes and begin to pursue anything that might scare them or their neighbors. The day has now past and it is an appropriate time for a few observations.

I’ve noticed that costumes today are much more complex than they were in the 1970s. In those days my brothers and I would dig out our Underdog or Batman plastic masks and head out on the pursuit of Halloween fun.

I noticed an assortment of costumes at events this year.

I think the most original costume was a Caterpillar tractor. I saw another young boy dressed as a police officer with a prisoner in tow, who happened to be his sister.

A boy dressed as a taco alongside his sister, dressed as Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” was pretty close. Think about that one just a minute and you will realize these kids were pretty clever.

As I look back in time I see the experience of Halloween had a different feel to it during my childhood years.

I’m not sure if our parents trusted us more or trusted society more, but we were given free reign Halloween night to roam the neighborhood. There were limitations, but we didn’t need or want parental escorts.

Now, and I completely understand it, almost all children have adult escorts. There is true evil out there which has nothing to do with Halloween. Young children are not safe alone in today’s world.

Our parents trusted our neighbors to give us safe candy. They also trusted us enough to notice if there was a razor blade in one of our Snickers bars. These days you hear of horrific things. An example is a story this year where a child became high on methamphetamine after eating a chocolate bar laced with the drug.

The parents of the 1980s trusted their children to behave.

We were instructed to focus specifically on treats and to not be involved in the other half of the equation. Too many tricks would earn us a trip to the proverbial wood shed.

In my now nearly 50-year-old brain I don’t remember filling any Westhaven area trees with toilet paper.

I do remember one incident involving eggs, but the statue of limitations has expired. If anyone out there had their car hit by eggs on Halloween 1981, I will plead the Fifth, but I am sure whoever did it apologizes.

Call it political correctness or something else, but Halloween is not celebrated like it was 40 years ago. Many events have a different feel to them because “scary” costumes are often outlawed.

There seemed to be more cake baking contests like the one my dad won over more traditional housewives, something he bragged about for years.

In many ways, the day just seemed like it was more fun way back then. Old-fashioned good times were more important than political correctness.

Tom Woerner is a reporter with The Daily Record. Reach him at 910-230-2038 or twoerner@mydailyrecord.com.

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