Halloween is Cancelled – Have a Nice Day


I just found out that Halloween is cancelled this year.

I am floored. My kids are distraught slightly disappointed. My husband and I have dropped everything we were supposed to be doing today and are scrambling to find some way to save Halloween for our boys. We had signed them up for a party followed by trick-or-treating at specific, pre-approved homes where folks had granted permission for kids to knock on their doors. Kind of like one of those historical house tours but without the history and with more candy. It’s not going to happen.

My husband is tying his cape, putting on his helmet, and choosing his weapon. I am donning some kick-ass boots, a long black cloak, and cat mask. Don’t scoff. Whiskers aside, I am ruthless.

My kids will have Halloween.

There should be a holiday cartoon about us—The Year Halloween was Cancelled or Captain A-scare-ica and Cat Mama Save Halloween.

Thing is, we shouldn’t have to be saving this holiday in the first place. When I was little, we dressed up, left our house, and walked around the neighborhood. We knocked on doors, got candy, and went home. Simple. Costumed kids flooded the streets every October 31st. You can’t cancel a day.

Ah. But you can cancel an event. Nights of moonlight, magic, and Milky Way bars are becoming extinct. I recently wrote a column about how Halloween has turned into a pre-planned evening. There are costume contests and parades held on the 31st. Clearly these are meant to be an alternative to roaming the streets, in the dark, in your zombie costume, knocking on neighbors’ doors. Goodbye spontaneity, hello scheduling.

I don’t want to go to the town hall, local hotel, restaurant, or shopping mall. I don’t want pizza parties and goodie bags and bored employees handing my kids Skittles.

I want the kind of darkness only Halloween night can bring. I want pretty, dead leaves scraping driveways, chilly autumn air filling my lungs, shadows of bare tree limbs edging onto the road. I want to see the moon and stars.

Back in the 70s in my day, kids ran wild on October 31st. There was no plan, we just went out. If we were alone, we soon found a group of kids. If we were with a group of kids, we formed a larger group of kids. You get my point.

As parents, we should be performing last-minute costume fittings and checking to see if last year’s face paint has dried out but, instead, we are emailing, texting, and making phone calls, desperately trying to find a place for our kids to go on Halloween. It’s pathetic. And weird. You shouldn’t have to search for a place to trick-or-treat.

Although Halloween is here, there are no lawns covered with headstones. Where are the hanging bats, giant spiders, and jack-o-lanterns? (This was rhetorical but, if you must know, they’re in stores and restaurants.) Oh, won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?!

I had (more or less) resigned myself to the fact that this is what Halloween has become. But I didn’t like it. And, as I’ve said, you can’t make a day disappear. Unless you’re a warlock or some sort of time-traveler which would be wicked cool. Anyway, what you can do, if you’re evil (or if you have the flu or the water heater in the building exploded or something), is cancel an event.

I miss the days when all I had to do was dress up as a witch and walk out my front door.


25 thoughts on “Halloween is Cancelled – Have a Nice Day

  1. Hey Cat Mama – you go save the world for the kids! I’m counting on you! Is this about lost community and the feeling it someone else’s responsibility? A sad sign of the times it seems, though we have never had Halloween, in the UK on the same scale as you describe; I remember bobbing apples and prunes in flour and crappy little homemade costumes and trick or treating the 2 neighbours willing to take part!
    The only parties I have been to have been hosted by American friends!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Off I go! Where’s my invisible plane? Wait. Wrong super hero. I should have a Catmobile or something.

      I honestly don’t know what is happening but I think you made an interesting point: lost community. And this time of year, the loss of community feels stronger. If only because I remember how it was for me on Halloween–neighborhoods full of kids and parents who all knew each other. Things are so different now. I don’t think that this holiday is any more dangerous than when I was a child but, as a society, we act like it is.

      Oh, Lisa! Halloween in the UK! Apple bobbing, I know. Prunes in flour? I going to have to look that one up. And I really can’t wait. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • It is so horrible we now live in such distrust of everyone and everything around us. I’m no exception though, having nightmares about my one-and-only being abducted, abused or murdered! Aside from the way the press do ramp up the dangers, it may be our communities have all changed because of increased mobility, No longer do we know everyone around us – before we might have at least been able to say ‘You go but stay away from number 17..”

        As for the prunes in flour, it wouldn’t surprise me to find it was my parents’ wicked sense of humour – of course we did the apples in water first.. Faces covered in a gluey mess not long after and spitting powdery clumps of yuk everywhere ! But I think the prize was a toffee apple so it made it all worth it back then!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s pretty bad. We don’t have a community here or even a neighborhood. We have houses that were built near each other but that’s the extent of it. I don’t know what happened in one generation. Is it distrust? That’s part of it, certainly. (And I’m as bad as you with the worrying and the nightmares of something bad happening. That’s human nature–and a bit of something that parents are gifted with once they have their first baby. Joy.) So, yes, distrust. But we’ve also become more isolated.

        Well, Lisa, that is quite the visual. You poor kids with your faces covered in flour and water. It sounds disgusting. But, hey, a toffee apple is a good incentive. I am determined to find this prune/Halloween connection.


    • Really. It’s ridiculous. Our own fault for signing them up for something that can be cancelled. We had parties like this when I was a kid but not ON Halloween. Nobody would go because they were, wait for it…out trick-or-treating! Gah!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tackle it with the weapon of your choice! Halloween was my favorite holiday as a kid! I lived on the border of California and Nevada which gave me two Halloweens…that’s right, two! Nevada Day is October 31 and is a state holiday. Thus we had Halloween off from school as if it were Easter or Christmas. Nevada celebrated Halloween on October 30, so we’d cross the border and trick-o-treat that night. Back on the California side, we had a party at the Forest Service with grilled hot dogs. Even Smokey Bear made an appearance! Then, in the dark, we tromped around the tiny hamlet of Markleeville, screaming and running and getting pillow cases full of more candy. I loved the dressing up, I loved the hot dogs, I loved being the one who knew where the cemetery was…oh, fun times! My kids still dress up and they are in their mid-20s! Halloween is FUN! Fight the good fight!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Fighting the good fight! Weapon of choice right now is my phone. Though I wear a cape while texting. I feel it will help the cause.

      You got two Halloweens?! We had school functions and parties leading up to the 31st but two holidays? Awesome. Smokey the Bear. That’s an unexpected Halloween visitor. I liked that cartoon critter with the ranger hat (even though he was a tad intimidating–pointing at me through the TV).

      Yeah, it’s a magical time of year. Dressing up, running around, getting candy, being “scared” (but not really), walking around outside after dark… Forget 20s, I STILL dress up. Yup. I do. Totally not ashamed.


  3. Wow. So has everyone in your neighborhood decided to refuse to participate then? Is that how it got cancelled? Jeez! I know our door will still be open for kids to come by and knock.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There aren’t a ton of kids in my neighborhood so the idea was to get permission from homeowners who were willing to be bothered by kids. There was a party-type thing, then a march (in an orderly fashion!) to those designated houses. That is what was cancelled–the party and walking tour to visit nice people who still put out a pumpkin on October 31st. So, in essence, Halloween is not happening. We need to crash another neighborhood. Maybe we’ll toilet paper this one. 😉


  4. so sad; here in South London trick or treating is alive and well. See, what happens in America in the 1970s eventually reaches us – like Kojak and a Man called Ironside. This will be the first year of Dog who barks above his weight and will go stark staring bananas at the first ring. can’t wait to see their terrified faces HA HA HA! And what’s this all about checking who’s happy to be knocked? It’s part of the tradition, isn’t it that you have a go at everyone? Or do your gun laws mean you risk being blown away if you ask for sweets at the wrong house? We just toss the eggs back. When my kids were a bit too cool to TnT themselves they loved being on hand to scare those who called. It’s a shame the Health and safety Nazis seem to have taken over your celebrations.
    And Teepeeing! Now that was something I only learned about when friends moved to San Francisco in 2000 and their daughter dumped her latest boyfriend and their front yard was covered in loo rolls – what a fab way to make your point. Hope it all pans out Superwoman..

    Liked by 2 people

    • See, now I thought it was the other way ’round. We finally catch up to whatever cool stuff is happening across the pond. I guess Halloween is an American thing–at least how nuts we go about it.

      Oh, poor puppy. The ringing will certainly set him off. Hadn’t thought about that. But his barking will definitely sound menacing to the unsuspecting kids (and parents) outside. I’m glad you take pleasure in that. 😉

      Yes, the “approval” of having your door knocked on is absurd. And, yes, when I was little, we had a go at everyone. It was part of the fun. If they didn’t answer, we ran to the next house.

      Health and safety…? We have town hours for trick-or-treating and you can go to shopping malls, strings of restaurants, hotels, and even parking lots (where you “trunk-or-treat”–that is walking from car to car and taking candy out of the trunk in a safe and secured parking lot).

      I will find a neigborhood to go trick-or-treating in tomorrow or my name is not Cat Mama! (Or Superwoman or whatever.)


      • If you are arrested or whatever happens do let us know. What’s most important, and this is the critical point, is that you embarass your brood. It is the, first Law of Parenting. It’s is the nearest thing to a return on our investment in the little darlings.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 😀 I’ll let you know.

        My kids don’t get embarrassed by me and I honestly have NO idea why. I’m very embarrassing to be around. In a few more years they will… *laughs maniacally*


  5. Have everyone hop on the back of Captain A-scare-ica and my way… Where we still do it the old fashioned way by turning on the porch lights if we want to pass out candy. Who ever cancelled Halloween in your neighborhood should be egged. And toilet papered. And have their yard forked!!!! That’s just ridiculous. The poor children. You should give them some eggs… 🙂

    I might find it redundant to teach the kids not to take candy from strangers and then haul them around the neighborhood (on foot, we have parents who drive their kids from house to house?!) to beg for candy. But by gosh, that’s tradition!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m laughing so hard! You evil woman. They “should be egged!” 😀 I’m going to try to get my kids some candy first but, if all else fails, we’ll buy lots of toilet paper. The eggs can be for a nice cheese omelette Saturday morning.

      The whole thing really is utterly ridiculous.

      We’ll all hop in the Catmobile that I’ve decided I have and head over to your neighborhood. Sounds perfect. Old-fashioned trick-or-treating.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah, now that you’ve read my Halloween post you know just how I feel about it and the kind of Halloweens you describe here from your childhood are just the ones I had with my kids in CA back in the 80s and 90s. I took them when they were little and then as they grew older, big brother took them or they hooked up with friends and went as a group, safe and had a blast. I don’t know if it’s still like that in the town where we lived but there were other community events going on as an alternative which we avoided like the plague. Like you, I wanted an outside, in the cold, damp earthy dark of the night, kicking through the leaves, knocking on the neighbour’s doors kind of Halloween. In my Halloween post last year, I described what if felt like for this Brit moving over to America and not even knowing what a trick or treater was but how I learned to embrace it and enjoy it with my children. I loved the dressing up, and reading the comments here, just like Charli, my kids in their 20s (and eldest son 32, yikes, how did that happen?) still love it. I used to make a lot of their outfits scrabbling around in the house for ‘stuff’ and we had so much fun. One year I stuck on a baseball hat, husband’s jacket and a fake mustache. Voila, a man! One year, my hair being short back then, I put in a fake tiara, wore a velvet dress and went as Princess Di (English accent came in handy for that one). Anyway, it is so sad that things have become so rigid and let’s face it, unfun? Is there such a word? Hope you enjoyed ‘your’ Halloween anyway. Oh and I really love your writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband and I scrambled so as not to end up at a shopping mall or something similar. It would have been better than nothing but we wanted so badly go out and use our flashlights and bring our little costumed creatures around a neighborhood with decorated houses and glowing jack-o-lanterns.

      Yeah, Halloween is fabulous. My husband and I still dress up. I hope our kids do, too, when they’re older. (Love the princess Di complete with accent costume!) Unfun is definitely a word. It’s my blog and I say it’s a word. And we did NOT have an unfun night. In a strange turn of events, we had a marvelous Halloween, trick-or-treating OUTSIDE.

      Thank you for the lovely compliment. I was just thinking the same thing about your writing reading your comment. The way you describe Halloween “outside, in the cold, damp earthy dark of the night, kicking through the leaves, knocking on the neighbors doors” is brilliant. Plus, you’re funny. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I’m so glad you all had such a wonderful Halloween Sarah, outside in the proper way. Not unfun at all..;and I thank you, yes, it’s your blog and if you say it’s a word, then it is 🙂 How lovely of you to say…goodness, thank you so much. I sometimes wonder if I rattle on so much that I get a bit carried away. It’s been great chatting with you Sarah, really has… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.