The End of Halloween?
While lurking on Facebook, I came across one group's topic that asked the question "Is Halloween Dying Out?". Posters were quick to confirm this, citing sexual predators and political correctness (for example, kids no longer dressing up at their schools) as key causes. In my opinion, they missed the mark somewhat.
Halloween is not dying out, just evolving. Though there are rampant reports of a steady decline in trick or treaters, more and more people are throwing Halloween parties (for themselves as adults but especially for their kids). Instead of going door to door, the children meet up at one house to celebrate the holiday together. There is also an increase in community events that families attend. One stop trick or treating, so to speak. No fuss, no muss.
The fact that Halloween is one of the (if not the) biggest holiday money-makers for North American retailers is a good indication of its longevity, and gives strength to the notion that people are switching to haunting at home and with friends.
Fear is still a strong contender when it comes to finding the cause for a decline in trick or treaters, but I would say it is our busy schedules that have changed how Halloween operates. It's most often the rule, not the exception, that both parents in a family have to work . You also have more single parents now compared to 20 years ago. With Halloween often falling on a weekday, working moms and dads (who are also working longer hours than ever) find it even more difficult to find the time or energy for classic Halloweening. Visiting less houses or attending a single event is a time-saver.
A tired society is an apathetic one. 'It's not worth the effort'. 'Lets find the easiest way to do this'. I'm talking about the general public, not just parents. It isn't only trick or treaters who are on the decline, but there are less people giving out candy (be it due to cost, time, or effort...or perhaps they too are at a community event or party). Less houses giving out candy means less trick or treaters (why bother going down a long street that only has two houses with porch lights on?). Less trick or treaters means less houses giving out candy (why waste our money if hardly anyone comes?). And on the cycle goes until you are left with entire streets that have extinguished porch lights on Halloween night.
Halloween isn't dying, it's evolving. It's conceivable that trick or treating may one day be a thing of the past, but there will be something to take its place.