I remember growing up in the '70's and early-mid '80s. Halloween was the best holiday ever. We would get dressed and by 6pm my parents would take us out to hit up the neighborhood.
I remember getting home around 8ish, with an entire pillowcase full of candy. Even though we would eat so much candy on Halloween that we would get sick we still always had enough candy to to last late into November.
I remember the smiling faces of people handing out candy, and the race to hit all the "good" houses before they ran out. This nebulous running out almost never happened but we were always worried. Up until I was 11 we would hit up our 80 unit apartment complex and then venture out into the projects (we lived in the projects, but for some reason we never thought of our complex as part of the projects, then again my friends who lived in "the projects" never thought their places were in the projects but that I lived in them).
It was such a cool experience, a lot of the older people went all out with decorations and would always talk with each child about their costume. I remember a couple of older couples that gave out full size candy bars, not the weeny little bars, they of course were our childhood favorite places to trick or treat.
For the last 10 years we have gotten almost no trick or treaters to our door. Yes the whole poison and razor blade scare freaks people out. But as it turns out all of the poison incidents turned out to be family members of the victim. Yet the media hypes the fear and erodes our trust in our neighbors. Unfortunately this is just a sad symptom of the rest of society's paranoia and trust.
For the last five years the only trick or treaters were my nephew and niece and once we had a little boy in a tiger suit. LOL of course he got almost a whole bag of candy from us (we had like 4 bags and no other trick or treaters) he was so cute.
I am kind of sad about what is happening. Sure the mall is neat, but the entire outlook of taking your kids around the neighborhood was such a cool thing. Sadly enough I kind of looked forward to decorating the house, having candy and maybe even setting up a way to scare the little trick or treaters. At least that was my desire when I got too old to trick or treat myself. But here I am 18-20 years later since I went trick or treating myself and I no longer really try and decorate and this year is the first year I didn't even buy a "just in case a kid shows up" bag of candy.
It really does sadden me. I don't think the reason trick or treating stopped is because there was any real danger, rather I think as a society we have gotten so scared and so overly paranoid that its destroying what actually made us a great society.
I never thought I would ever think of the "good old days" but at least with Halloween that seems to be the case (of course its great its my wedding anniversary as well, but just sad about the whole trick or treat thing).