Opinion: Moving Trick-Or-Treating To WHEN!??

Photo by Jason Allentoff

It’s quite rare that I get the opportunity to write an opinion piece. Normally, if I start typing away about anything, it’s usually a news story where I’m not permitted to offer my two cents on anything; just state the facts. In this case, I can’t resist and I won’t. As my late buddy Bob Levy used to say “get it off your chest!” I WILL! He would be so proud.

I’m going to prelude this by saying the following is my OWN OPINION and not necessarily that of the staff, other management or sponsors of Micromedia Publications, Inc./Jersey Shore Online.

I know that some of you may agree with me while some will most definitely and fiercely disagree. That’s fine and I’m ready for the blow back. I also wish to state that my opinion may offend some public officials who have made the decisions discussed. For that, I humbly apologize in advance but I’m also open to having a civil discourse about it.

Circa 1993 – Jason Allentoff was Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th while his brother went as The Phantom of the Opera. (Photo courtesy Allentoff Family)

So… here it goes.

While I’ve always understood and accepted the need to alter the trick-or-treating schedule to accommodate the nation’s second largest Halloween parade in Toms River, I don’t understand why some towns are moving trick or treating to Friday, November 1 due to a possible rain storm. Furthermore, I don’t agree with the thousands of posts on social media where people are suggesting that Halloween festivities be moved to the nearest Saturday to “make life easier for people.”

I don’t know what’s happening. Frankly, I’m gonna sound like an old curmudgeon. When I was a child, tricks or treats was held on Halloween. It didn’t matter – rain, shine, sleet or snow. We would don our costumes on the very last day of October and by the end of the first week of November, those bins and bags once filled with confectionery delights were completely empty. Parents worried about pending dental bills for the next few months.

Now being a parent myself, I completely understand the potential safety concerns for letting children out and about during hazardous weather conditions, but why did the same rules and concerns not apply back then? When I say back then, I mean the late 80s and 1990s when I was just a lad.

My parents would let us out for candy early and we would come back very late – sometimes with three or four sacks full. It was always a great time. We all traveled in large groups of neighbors and friends. There were a few years where it did rain and that didn’t stop us. In fact, it enhanced it. We would all run from house to house taking refuge on the porch before fleeing fast to the next one. We all had curfews and as long as we followed the rules, there was no issue.

So what’s different now? Couldn’t one make an argument that trick or treating happens on Halloween regardless of the elements dished out by mother nature and if you want to go, you go. And if you don’t want to, you miss the opportunity until next year?

One of Jason Allentoff’s Halloween costumes. Circa 1998 – James Bond 007. (Photo courtesy Allentoff Family)

Isn’t it slightly presumptuous for a town to announce moving an event that already involves an expense for the resident? Maybe that person won’t be home the next night. Maybe they have a huge Halloween party scheduled for the day after and the last thing they want to hear is a doorbell ringing all night with ghosts, goblins and the latest Disney character popping over for goodies on an alternate evening.

There are exceptions. After Superstorm Sandy seven years ago, Governor Chris Christie was instrumental at moving the candy day. But that made sense! A natural disaster just hit the state. I get it!

So now let me raise some questions:

Were my folks negligent? Was every other parent from 1987 to 1999 also complicit in this negligence? Why was it ok for us to go out there and get soaked for the sake of Kit Kat’s and SweeTarts but this current generation can’t? Will the kids of today melt? One can argue that times have changed but there was rain back then too. Is that really an answer? Am I just overthinking this?

Communication is now easier with the advances in technology. When I was out getting candy, I didn’t have a cellphone. In fact, only a select few had them back then and often times, there was a long cord coming out of it hooked up to a car’s center console. It wasn’t until I was 18 that I had my first mobile and it didn’t do anything but make phone calls.

Are things more dangerous now? One person on social media posted that moving the event was a good idea since “visibility would be poor” if it rains and trying to spot kids in costumes would be more difficult. But wait, it did rain back then and drivers had to be careful then as well, right?

So let’s speculate. Is the reason for the hasty rescheduling due to a series of bad events over the decade I cited earlier? Was there an increase in children getting sick from being out in the rain or more accidents and possible lawsuits and dangers that I’m not considering? Am I missing something here or are we completely turning our children into marshmallows?

Also, to take this in another direction, when I was in school, we very rarely had snow days. If we did, we wouldn’t know until the morning of. My brother and I would gather with my parents around the radio in the kitchen to hear that all important announcement. There was no calling school closed the night before. That never happened. Fast forward to this last winter – several schools announced the closures the night before and the next day, there wasn’t even a flake.

The argument is “well, parents have to work and make arrangements…” my question – didn’t parents work back then? Not all moms were home when kids came back from school at that time.

So, I ask you. What do you think? Am I right or wrong? What changed? Did something happen? Why is everyone more sensitive than yesterday? Who’s right and who’s wrong? Is there even a definitive answer?

Could I play devil’s advocate and say there is no right or wrong here – that everyone is entitled to their opinion? Sure, I certainly can. I still don’t understand why it feels like we are being too careful and not getting our hands dirty. I remember hearing things like “go out and scrape your knees” and “don’t give up, etc. etc.” Should we all be a slave to the weather forecast or should we just enjoy our lives and take precautions to stay safe but roll with the punches?

Here’s another one – if it snows on Christmas Eve, should Santa Claus stay at the North Pole and wait until conditions improve? Ok, maybe I’m pushing it now.

Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Ah, I feel better now that I got that off my chest.

Thanks for reading and yes I’ve officially become the oldest 37 year old known to man. At least you won’t catch me saying that I used to walk five miles in the snow without shoes to get to and from school up a hill. That I’ll reserve for my dad.

Here are a few comments we saw on social media about this very subject. Feel free to chime in!!