Six children in costumes trick or treating at woman's houseLet’s see, I’ve covered the basics, here: costumes, masks, candy…what else is there? Oh, right–TRICK OR TREATING! Gearing up, grabbing your biggest haul bag and heading out, scouring the entire neighborhood (and maybe a few others), going door to door, threatening a trick if the home owners don’t make with the treat. Any other time of the year, this is considered mob extortion. One night, though, it’s considered adorable.

Though, it seems that this very tradition is slowly heading the way of the buffalo. More and more, you hear about corporate-sponsored “Trunk-or-Treating”, or events where you herd a bunch of kids inside a mall to get their candy from the various stores and/or mall areas. And I can understand the reasoning behind that, on a certain level; it’s much more convenient, you don’t have to take the kids outside or wander around too far, and it keeps them safe from any potential stranger.

There’s something I don’t like about this practice, though. And it’s not the blatant underlying commercialization of things (although, I do tend to cock an eyebrow at that, too). No, what we forget by choosing to haul our kids some place to grab candy straight from the trunk of a car (tell me how that isn’t creepy?) is this: Trick or Treating helps to build community. I know, it sounds odd coming from me, but with going door-to-door, not only do the kids get candy, but both the kids and parents get to know thy neighbors in a way that wandering around a mall on the other side of town just can’t provide.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I come from a small rural township area, and everybody just knew everybody, and trick-or-treating was just as good a social event as anything. Maybe it could be that I’m just an old curmudgeon. But I prefer Trick-or-Treating the old fashioned way.

Also, there’s just something about eliciting screams from the kiddies when you answer the door.