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Halloween has always been one of my favourite days of the year.  As a kid, I can distinctly remember trick or treating.  The costumes, the gleeful chaos of going door to door with my sister’s, and seeing all the children running up and down the street on a sugar buzz that would extend late into the night (around 9 p.m. or so).  I can remember getting home and sitting down in front of the TV with my sisters, and sorting out the loot, trading back and forth for our individual favourites, while my dad casually plucked out the mini bags of roasted nuts for himself “Because you kids don’t like them anyway.”

As a teenager, it became a time for late night horror film sleepovers.  Later, it was costume parties, and then as a young adult, all night costumed dance-a-thons at the “in” club of the moment.

But when it gets right down to it, for me Halloween is, and always will be, about those younger kids and that gleeful, chaotic, sugar buzzed night.

This year, the weather was pleasant, and the trick or treaters were out in force.  I stayed home and handed out candy to what was a record for us in this house (where we’ve lived for the past 7 Halloweens).

My wife bundled up our 10 month old and took her up and down the street, because you only get one first Halloween.  And even though our toddler likely won’t remember it, that’s no reason for her to miss it.

And she brought back some news that really surprised me.  Nearly 3/4’s of the houses in our neighbourhood were dark.  The residents either out, or pretending they were out. No decorations.  No carved jack-o-lanterns.  No spirit of the day.

For some reason, that just made me sad.  Obviously, the families with children were still participating.  Like I said, the kids were out in force.  But what about everyone else?

It’s about community spirit.  It’s about doing something for the next generation, so they’ll have fond memories when they grow up.

Come on people, quit being such spoil sports and grinches.  Set aside the origin of the holiday.  It’s not about witchcraft and superstition anymore.  It’s about sharing a fun night with friends and children.  It’s about showing those children that people are basically good and generous, even if you don’t know them.

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