Twenty years ago, Halloween was a day when children would masquerade on the streets with their friends without a care in the world. Now, parents make sure they know exactly where their children are and are sure to check the stash of Halloween candy in fear of a serious trick, rather than a treat.
When October rolls around every year, excited children pick out their costumes with their friends, while parents sit around worrying and thinking of the best ways to protect their children from the dangers of the Halloween streets.
On the 31st, parents arm their trick-or-treaters with a flashlight, reminding them to stay off of the roads, to stay with a group at all times, and above all, to not eat any candy, no matter how tempting it may be, before they get home. The mounds of candy must be checked for razor blades stuffed inside of unwrapped candy or “candies” that are actually pills in costumes of their own.
Last year, the biggest fear was the “killer clowns” that were on the streets, roaming around in efforts to scare anyone they could. All across the country, these clowns would chase cars and kids, some with weapons, some without. This year, there isn’t as much of a specific fear, but to make matter worse, eight people were killed and many more injured in the terror attack that occurred in New York City on October 31st. Between the normal fears of Halloween and the ever-present terrorist threat, parents are more open to activities, such as “Trunk or Treating”, that keep them close to their children.
“Trunk or Treating” is thought to be a safer alternative that still brings the Halloween spirit to kids. It offers the fun of Trick or Treating, just in a better environment for parents to watch their little ones. People gather in a parking lot, open their decorated trunks, and give out candy, like on Halloween, to children. Parents are able to tag along and watch as their children participate in a more controlled version of the Halloween tradition. With Trunk or Treating occurring more and more each year, is this the future of Halloween?
Right here in Hopatcong, the high school drama club brought back the tradition of Haunted Hallways. This year, students worked to bring back this loved fundraiser after a few years’ hiatus.
Members of the drama club, even those not usually onstage, got a chance to act in the themed rooms. Each was based on a Disney story that had been twisted into a darker tale. It occurred for 3 hours on Monday October 23 from 6-9pm, and people lined up outside of the cafeteria to get in. They were guided through the hallways by HHS seniors, who were also dressed as Disney characters.
Senior Tara Nixdorff was one of the key organizers for this event. “It was better than I could have ever imagined. Being able to bring back the event that made me want to be an actor was a dream come true,” Nixdorff said. “To go and fight to bring this event back and see the amazing finished product is so incredible.”
Junior Anthony Marinaro also worked on bringing the event to life. “Haunted Hallways turned out to be a success for the Drama Club this year. After three years, we were able to bring it back and not only did it benefit the organization, it was a fun day for everyone involved,” Marinaro said.
Here in Hopatcong, there are lots of fun activities to celebrate Halloween. Each year, however, whether you are going to go Trick or Treating or you opt to stay home, the most important part of Halloween is having fun and staying safe.