Wednesday, October 27, 2010
I have many good childhood memories of Halloween. However, with some, it was a time of opportunity and greed. Some of the kids I knew at the time approached the night as a virtual legalized form of looting, going out very aggressive and focused, on a mission. They were typically much older and their costuming was minimal - seen only as a necessary nuisance to legitimize their door knocking and collection. After their high speed tear through the neighborhoods, they bragged to others of booties that were a pillowcase full - that's a lot of candy.*
Others of us with more modest goals, counted and compared tallies on number of candy bars collected. Fruit and other assorted sundries were looked down upon. And as the growing number of incidents of fruits and other non-packaged items being laced with drugs, chemicals or razor blades became greater in number, we had further reason to dismiss these trick or treat gifts.
It was not until I became an adult living in New York City, that I began experience Halloween as an opportunity for creative costuming, parties and decorations, with the annual Village Halloween Parade as the pièce de résistance, with millions attending.
There is a limited amount of door-to-door prospecting for goodies by children in the city, but it does exist. In larger buildings, particularly in Manhattan, children often go trick or treating in their own buildings (or to their friend's buildings) from apartment to apartment. Often signs will be put on apartment doors indicating whether or not the occupants are participating.
In the outer boroughs, children still make the rounds to private homes, much as they do in the suburbs or countryside. However and wherever you do it, I hope parents will help children measure the fun in ways other than pillowcases...
*I found a science project online that proclaimed:
When it comes to Halloween, greed is most definitely good. And there's nothing like an old pillowcase - sturdy, voluminous, reusable, and environmentally conscious - to hold your epic stash. But you must have wondered - exactly how much candy could you possibly collect in a standard pillowcase? How many houses would you have to visit and how much ground would you have to cover to achieve that that elusive goal?
The project went on to calculate not only the amount of candy that would fill a pillowcase (48 lbs, 1690 pieces) but also how much time, area and walking would be needed. In Campbell California, it was estimated that you would have to visit about 1352 houses to fill a pillowcase, and walk about 11 miles, covering .42 square miles.
Photo Note: Today's photos were taken in Brooklyn Heights, one of the most pristine, bucolic, picturesque and cloistered neighborhoods in the entire city of New York. See my posting here.