Over the last 3 years, we have seen the nature of the holiday change dramatically. 20 years ago at our house, we would get well over a hundred kids over the course of an evening,. Running out of candy was almost a certainty, and we would inevitably see many of the neighborhood kids from our local elementary schools, sports teams, music organizations and the like. It was fun and a great way to be a part of the community. Our kids would run off and go everyplace else to get candy, but at least one of us stayed home to greet the ongoing stream of smiling kids, many of whom we knew and were glad to see.
Since the rise of these mega-events at the homes of various high net worth folk (who are well intentioned I have no doubt), the traffic in our neighborhood and to our house has plunged from a gushing river of kids to little more than an occasional drip. We live two blocks away from the Jobs house, and people are parking up and down our street to go there, but we have had barely 10 total kids come to our door, and it is 8PM.
Sadly, this makes this holiday far less fun for us. We have personally noticed that an increasing number of families on our street are now not participating at all - going out or just turning off their lights and not answering their door. My wife and I talked seriously tonight about doing that next year.
The lines at these mega-events are very long - entire streets are shut down, and kids wait a long time in lines. It is certainly an event, and the displays are very highly produced, but I cannot help but wonder if this is really a good thing for the community. I just wonder if this is something worth considering - is the goal of Halloween to encourage billionaires to compete to create the most 'awesome' halloween show, or to encourage kids to go out and have a fun time and for families to participate?
I certainly appreciate the desire to make halloween a special experience, but I can say without a doubt that these 'super-shows' have dramatically changed the experience for us, and I do not think it is necessarily for the positive. When I was a kid, running with my friends from house to house, and collecting as much candy as possible was the number 1 goal - and for the families, it was great to see the parade of great costumes and all the neighborhood kids who would grow and change from year to year.
While I guess it is not the most pressing issue facing the community, it is something worth sharing and considering...