Today marks the celebration of all things spooky, and for once no politician is involved, unless of course you count the upswing in Sarah Palin masks and wigs, but that's another column altogether. Arguably, nothing shows the difference in the world over the past decades than Halloween observances in the '60s and now. Back then, it was considered a big haul if you got an actual chocolate bar in your trick or treat bag. Now that's just the tip of the candy-coated iceberg. There are goody bags to put in the goody bags, stores bend over backwards to give to an ever-increasingly greedy population (you don't agree - ask yourself why the ads have to read 'no early birds'), and children are encouraged to expect more and more.
And what about the costumes? The dress-up factor of Halloween has gone mad. Parents are expected to come up with gear that rivals Hollywood costume designers. Back in my day (you knew it was coming) a good costume was one that would fit over my Michelin-man snow pants and my scarf-swathed face. Dawson Creek on Oct. 31 could be colder than a witch's heart.
One of the saddest commentaries on the state of our world is the fact that no child is safe to go out trick or treating in a group of children. Now the norm is for parents to go out with their children or take the tykes to house or school parties. It's a horror to me that the freaks in our society have managed to turn one of the most delightful days of the year into one of genuine fear. Another part of the ghostly celebration that's changed radically is the tricks. At one time, it was considered the height of hilarity to move Farmer John's outhouse (probably not so funny for Farmer John on his midnight stroll to the two-seater). But nothing much happened that couldn't be washed off. Nowadays, the sky's the limit. The weirdos among us think nothing of blowing up property, regardless of the risk to anyone else. Many morons stand a good chance of coming home tonight missing a body part. We can only hope some innocent person or animal doesn't suffer a similar fate.
There is no easy answer to the Halloween dilemma. However, I do hope no one comes to my door tonight dressed as George Bush - now that would be truly scary.