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I’ve been watching over the past week or two as events scheduled for Halloween night pop up in the Around Town section of the paper. And before I continue, I want to make myself clear: I love Halloween, and any events centered around it are aces in my book. I appreciate other people who love Halloween and are willing to take the time to help the children of the community celebrate it.

I hope everyone is able to stop by these events and contribute to the fundraisers, if they are being held as such.

But I also hope people don’t forget good, old-fashioned trick-or-treating in the process.

When I was younger, my cousins and I had so much fun running through the neighborhood, going door to door. And I know it was even more fun when my parents and their siblings were children, going out collecting candy with church youth groups, sometimes simultaneously trick-or-treating for UNICEF.

Community trick-or-treating is nostalgic, and it’s what the holiday is primarily about.

You always remembered which houses gave out chocolate versus Smarties. And sometimes, there was even that hallowed home that issued full-sized candy bars (I will always love you for that, Mr. and Mrs. Boneau!)

You remembered the elaborate decorations, the neighborhood pranksters who would stand motionless near the door until the children believed them to be a prop, then strike at the precise moment for optimum scare. The friendly people handing out candy, whose smiling faces always had nice things to say about your costume. (I’ll never forget going as Peter Frampton in junior high and being called Dolly Parton all night… I guess I should’ve taken that as a compliment.).

It was always gratifying when your costume generated attention on the street, as well. My Ghost of Jimi Hendrix (a sheet, a wig with a headband scarf, and my electric guitar) was a hit due to the fact I wore rollerblades and was able to glide down the sidewalks, making many a youngster think they were seeing a real ghost. With an electric guitar.

When I was little, my Nana lovingly handmade my costumes each year, whether I was going for the traditional witch or something a little more elaborate: at 5, I made the best Rainbow Brite ever.

And going back to Peter Frampton for a moment, I will always love my friends Loralee Hammer and Erica Hart for joining me that year in dressing up collectively as Humble Pie, a rock band from the ‘70s many people who grew up in the ‘70s barely even remember. We were not normal ‘90s teens, but we had a blast.

Returning to the point, however, it was not only fun for us kids but for the people handing out candy, as well. Once I got older, that became my new favorite part of the holiday, and it remains so to this day.

But last year, we barely entertained any trick-or-treaters at our haunted abode. We left the door open till around 10 p.m. but were left with a ton of candy; so much, in fact, that we loaded it up in a large trash bag and drove around searching for someone to give it to. I eventually found a UPS man making late-night deliveries. He was pretty happy to have something delivered to him for a change.

I’ll also add that many elderly people in our community enjoy handing out candy on Halloween. They better than anyone remember the way it was in the past, when neighborhoods were clogged with children and the sounds of laughter and shrieks. Seeing kids in their outfits brightens their day, and every year, I hear many of them sadly proclaim, “We didn’t get a single trick-or-treater this year.”

So attend community events as an addition to your Halloween, but please don’t forget trick-or-treating. It’s not an “unsafe” activity. It’s easy to spot the houses that are welcoming trick-or-treaters, as they’ll have their lights on, doors open, decorations ablaze, etc. And the Artesia Police Department is always about; as an added bonus, children approaching their vehicles are often rewarded with candy, as well.

We’re lucky to live in a community that doesn’t restrict Halloween with designated hours and/or requirements that trick-or-treating be held on a weekend. (Except when the ‘Dogs are playing, and there is a very good reason for that – no one would be home to hand out candy.) In Artesia, Halloween is still Halloween – just like it was when you were young.

Take a few hours to remember your own childhood by letting your kids relive it. (And teenagers! A teenager trick-or-treating is a teenager not out getting into trouble, so always give them candy!) There are few experiences left in this world that can be shared across generations, and this is one of them.

Happy Halloween, Artesia! And trick-or-treat!

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