This is the first year I have lived in Carson City. I moved here after commuting from Reno and hearing about the warmth of the community from co-workers. Having grown up in a small town in Iowa, the stories I heard from residents in Carson City struck a chord of "down home" in my heart.
This was my first experience of Nevada Day - the parade, fireworks and general community spirit confirmed by perception about Carson City retaining a small town atmosphere. The day reminded me of many days celebrated in my hometown.
I know that Halloween is becoming as commercialized as Christmas and Easter with all of the outdoor decorations. I enjoy the anticipation these decorations bring to my own young son's life. Living in a neighborhood bordered by two elementary schools, I purchased bags of candy expecting to have lots of little trick or treaters. I grew up believing that one of the benefits of Halloween was the chance to share with the kids in the neighborhood. I respect the rationales behind not making candied apples and popcorn balls to give to excited visitors.
As dusk turned into darkness and 6 p.m. rolled to 7 p.m., I checked outside to make sure my lights were on and our pumpkin still lit - traditional signs that we welcome trick or treaters. When I finally had three adolescent girls ring the door bell, I thought the flood would finally hit, and I could hand out candy and be entertained by the trick or treaters. I asked the girls if there were many kids out in the neighborhood and their comment was, "They're all down in the new development."
I had heard from a PTA member that one of the parents in this new development had spent $75 on candy, as they had so many kids come to their neighborhood. I knew that I had stockpiled, but $75 worth of candy? My disappointment was further realized as the clock moved to 8 p.m. (traditionally the end of the bewitching hour in the Midwest). I had a total of 16 kids, and none of them under the age of probably 12.
I grew up associating Halloween with community. As I waited for my doorbell to ring, I reminisced about the past years in Iowa where kids went trick or treating in their neighborhood. It saddens me that parents have bought into the commercial nature of Halloween. The statement made to me by the parents and kids who chose to vacate their own neighborhoods to go to a "new development" is that my candy isn't good enough.
I live less than two blocks from one of these "new developments." My child attends school with the children from the same area. What values are we teaching our children that it's only safe or you're only going to get quality or quantity by taking them to what appears to be an upwardly mobile neighborhood.
I didn't realize the old adage, "You can't judge a book by its cover" is no longer true. What would parents and kids do if the "new developments" decided to boycott Halloween because they didn't feel obligated to supply candy for half the town?
Does anybody want to go Christmas caroling in my neighborhood? I'll help organize the event.