Halloween Grinch by
(194 Stories)

Prompted By Trick or Treat?

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As a kid I loved Halloween. With pillowcases in hand, my friends and I roamed the town for hours and collected pounds of candy, sometimes being invited inside a home to bob for apples. My costumes were homemade, courtesy of mom, an excellent seamstress.

As a kid I loved Halloween, but grownups have co-opted it.

These days, I don’t like it so much, now that adults seem overly involved. The grownups have co-opted Halloween. One reason might be that, for a number of years now, it hasn’t been judged safe for kids to go trick-or-treating on their own, so the adults have accompanied them. However, that doesn’t explain the full blown extravaganzas that now seem required.

Halloween parties for adults also make me grumpy. While I admire some creative costumes, it’s difficult to interact with people in masks, especially if you don’t know them.

For several weeks now, houses have been decorated with store-bought, expensive items. Last week I went on a neighborhood walk, viewing huge spiders and their webs, bats, ghosts, and goblins. A woman walking her golden retriever came up near me, and we passed a home with black silhouette cutouts of witches and cats across a garage door. The poor dog took one look and yelped in terror. This week, the family next door put up an enormous (at least 8 feet high) zombie-like inflatable skeleton holding court over a graveyard. It scared the crap out of me the first time I saw it in my peripheral vision.

Before COVID, on Halloween our block turned into one huge party with people of all ages crowding the sidewalks and spilling onto the streets. The first couple of hours were fun, especially seeing the tiny tots with their earnest faces at my door. But by about 8 PM, the teenagers and adults predominated, and we turned off the porch light. This year, who knows what the block might be like, but we decided to pass up the entire evening.

So, I will be the grinch, and look back on more homey, less materialistic Halloweens, which were a lot more fun.


Profile photo of Marian Marian
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.

Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    A block party sounds like fun, Mare, but not when the adults take over. I agree that masks are less fun for all – more difficult for the kids to see out of and for the adults to know to whom they are speaking.

    I’m with you. I’m not turning on my light this year either.

    There has been a dramatic change in my neighborhood. It used to be fun when we were over-run by kids (and I knew lots of them and watched them grow). Now they’re all grown, but there is little turn-over in the neighborhood. These are not starter homes that people move into with little kids, so we don’t have trick-or-treaters any longer. There is one large house, several blocks away (I wanted to grab a photo, but I am always driving and can’t stop) that is extravagantly decorated (but they do the same for Christmas and Easter). Other than that – nothing in the whole neighborhood.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Sadly, I can’t disagree with you, Marian. I realize that we sometimes romanticize “the good old days” in ways that are just not accurate. but I think you ar e exactly right here. Indeed, I understand that adult purchases for Halloween are, among holiday spends, now second only to those for Christmas. That’s an awful lot of old sheets and cheap masks — and toilet paper.

    • Marian says:

      Spending that kind of money on Halloween seems ridiculous, John. I try not to sugarcoat the past, but I think we all had just as much fun in our ghostly sheets without the ridiculous expenditures.

  3. Yes Marian, it seems indeed the profit motive and the adults have taken over the holiday, but at least I hope the kids are still having some fun in this scary Covid world they’re now trapped in!

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Marian. We banned Halloween costumes from our preschool (talk about a grinch) because costumes were too competitive and not all kids celebrated Halloween.

    • Marian says:

      I agree that there shouldn’t be costume contests for kids, Laurie. It must be tough for those who don’t celebrate Halloween, but they can take advice for those who don’t celebrate Christmas.

  5. Suzy says:

    You do a great job of expressing all the reasons to be a grinch, Mare, but I still enjoy Halloween. I even like the decorations on people’s houses, they seem much cuter than the ones at Christmas time. It’s fun to see the little kids who are so excited to be in costumes. Don’t know how many we will get this year, because of covid, but I hope it’s a lot.

  6. Khati Hendry says:

    Bah humbug! I am not a fan of Halloween parties and overblown decorations (or at Christmas either). Yes to providing happy experiences for kids, but this seems to have evolved into wretched excess of commercialism.

  7. Risa Nye says:

    Marian, I have to also agree that adults seem to have taken over things costume-wise. As you can see from my post, I did dress up a couple of times but I also didn’t leave the house like that! This year people seem to have gone overboard on the decorations, but maybe it’s just one more way to add some playfulness to what has been a long dreary stretch of time. And now it’s time for all the Christmas stuff to go up! Yikes!!

    • Marian says:

      This evening we had almost no kids out, Risa, but last night there were a few, and the adults seems really subdued. Seems as if Halloween moved to Saturday for convenience. And don’t get me started on Christmas. Time to stop avoiding brick and mortar stores altogether.

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