Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lazy Helicopter Parents

While out driving on Halloween the other night, I drove through a neighborhood in full trick or treat mode. Though a minority of older kids walked from house to house, most kids were driven by their parents to each house, getting in and out of the vehicle (mostly ubiquitous minivans) ever 25 feet or so.

This meant that the road was clogged with pausing and slow moving vehicles, which made it very difficult for through traffic to drive down the street. It also made it more dangerous for drivers like me because it made it harder to see kids on foot, and made it more dangerous for the kids, as it made it harder for them to see through traffic, and because of the unpredictable movements of the minivan parade.

I don't know why the parents of small children just didn't park their vehicles and get off their lazy asses and walk with their kids to each house. And the parents of older children should have been home giving out candy and let those kids travel in groups to trick or treat on their own. It seems to me that if you're ten or eleven, having to spend the night getting in and out of a car with your parents there the whole time would suck all the joy right out of Halloween.

Halloween is totally different now for kids than it was when I was a kid trick or treating back in the sixties and early seventies. For one thing, only the smallest children had parents going with them to trick or treat, and even then the parents walked with their kids, they didn't drive them from house to house. And from about the second grade onwards (age 8), kids trick or treated on their own in groups in their own neighborhoods and the parents stayed home to hand out candy to other kids.

I lived in a huge subdivision where nearly every house participated. My mother would give me a king size pillow case and I'd fill that up, then return to get another one to fill. Trick or treating typically began at dusk, and continued for a few hours.

It was a lot more fun for us than it is for kids nowadays and I kind of feel sorry for kids now because they won't experience Halloween like most Baby Boom era kids did.

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