Today started pretty early. Right after we got up in the dark, in fact. As soon as everyone was awake, the Princess said, "Let's go trick-or-treating. We're all up!" Can't say we exactly shared her enthusiasm, but it continued, unabated, all day long.
I'm not sure we ever convinced her, but we spent the better part of the day explaining that there was no trick-or-treating until the evening. Made for one long day, but it finally came to its end, and off we went.
Trick or treating today bears no resemblance to what I remember as a kid. Back then we gathered up our little friends and walked, unescorted, throughout the neighborhood, where our neighbors gave out homemade candies and popcorn balls. No parents holding our hands, no parents chauffeuring us around, no safety reflectors on our clothes, no hauling off our candy to x-ray at the local hospital, and guess what? Our parents didn't worry, and nothing bad happened.
On the one hand, we are obsessed with guaranteeing a completely safe existence. There are laws and regulations in place for every minutiae you can imagine and some you can't:
- Somebody gagged on a lifesaver? Outlaw hard candy!
- Some kid tripped because her fairy dress was too long? Ban fairies!
- Some other kid choked on a flashlight? Recall flashlights!
On the other hand, we live in fear like never before. The idyllic 50's may not have been entirely idyllic, but something precious was lost when we traded innocence for worldliness. Now we see potential harm and hazard everywhere we look. We are afraid to let our children out of our sight, and we wouldn't dream of allowing them to eat an unwrapped anything from anyone.
That said, unbelievable as it may seem, this era is going to be somebody's "good old days." Hmmm.... Maybe "progress" isn't always progress.