All Tricks, No Treats

          When I was a little kid, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. My family dedicated a Sunday to mutilating pumpkins with cheerful faces, and my mother directed a family-friendly Trunk-or-Treat in our church parking lot, a safe alternative to roaming the neighborhood at night. I always had direct access to the candy stock room and had the privilege of sifting through it as it arrived, pulling out my favorites before it could be distributed. I was overloaded with candy until Christmas.

            But now that I’ve grown up, Halloween has taken a completely different twist. Carving pumpkins is a tradition I’m pretty sure will never die, at least not in my house, but as my brothers and I get older, Trunk-or-Treat does not suffice for means of obtaining candy and celebrating Halloween any longer. It’s not just a night to get free candy and dress up however you’d like; it’s partly a social thing, an excuse to hang out and act ridiculous with your friends.

            I spent this Halloween with my best friends walking around Greatwood in a constantly moving, cheerful mass of people. About halfway through our childish candy endeavor, the news sprung up out of the dark Halloween sky that someone had been jumped by the rec center.

            And of course, it would have been my older brother.

            The first things that passed through my mind were about him: how was he doing, had anyone else been hurt, why just him, and was anyone else with him? The second thought that ran through my mind sent more chills down my spine than the entire evil mythical shroud of Halloween: what if I’m next? It took only a quick glance around me to keep from panicking. I had a swarm of people who could protect me and keep me safe is someone was bold enough to approach me.

            After two sutures, a whole lot more attention than he’d like and a missed day of school, I’ve abandoned the notion that Halloween is all fun and games. While my older brother will be perfectly fine once the stitches come out and the scar heals up, our take on Halloween has forever been changed. The innocence of candy scavenging is over, because clearly, the fun and whimsical Halloween I grew up with is only for little kids. Have we out grown Halloween? No, not at all. We’ve only grown up in it.