You know what really gets me in the mood for the Halloween season? Taking a trip to the local library to check out Halloween books. Most of the time I find at least one adult sized book that will take most of the month to finish. Then I check out a few children’s books. That’s right don’t laugh. I read children’s books. Of course, not all the time. Only during the Halloween season. My reasoning is simple. I have very fond memories of reading these types of books in grade school. For example, the book titled The Monster Ring was one of my absolute favorites. Now if books like that exist then there must be so many more I haven’t had the chance to read yet. I was so impressed by a book titled The Best Worst Halloween Ever by Barbara Robinson that I decided to share it with you as the first book review of the 2016 Halloween season.
I guess why I liked this book so much was that it reminded me of things we did as kids during Halloween. The book had a lot of really good descriptions of kids preparing for Halloween and anticipating what would happen on the big night. Of course in this story things don’t go according to everyone’s plans. In fact the mayor of the town has threatened to cancel Halloween. At the last minute he decides not to cancel it but announces this year Halloween will take place at the Woodrow Wilson School instead. His reasoning is to prevent the local family of bullies, the Headman’s, from causing their usual trouble of terrorizing the town and students on Halloween night.
Can you imagine cancelling Halloween?
There have been many places that have tried to stop trick-or-treating and instead provide safer alternatives for kids. I’m all for safety but the sad thing is this could discourage families from decorating their yards and homes for Halloween. One of the best things about Halloween night is walking from house to spooky house and knocking on doors. Perfect strangers are happy to uphold the tradition and give out candy to anyone who says “Trick-or-Treat”. Houses play make believe for one night out of the year to transform into something more macabre than normal. It’s truly one of our last great neighborhood traditions as Americans. All other holidays are family centric but Halloween is the only holiday where you happily welcome little strangers to your front door and share in the excitement of the night by offering them a single piece of candy. I hope we never loose that.
What is so good about Halloween candy anyway?
As adults we can buy candy any day we feel like it. There is no one to tell us we can’t eat it when we want to (except our own guilty consciences). Even with all that freedom there is still an excitement brought on by the candy from trick-or-treating on Halloween night. For children there is a sense of accomplishment of collecting the candy and a blissful sweetness in eating it. As adults who give out candy there is that memory of the joy they once felt as kids. This is what makes Halloween candy so different than candy you get on any other day of the year. I found a part of the book that described this perfectly from a child’s point of view.
“Halloween candy is like…you get to have all the candy there is, all at once. You get to look at it, and count it, and separate it into little piles…and trade it…and eat it.”
I couldn’t agree more! That’s what makes Halloween candy so special.
What is needed to make Halloween a success?
I’ve been to adult Halloween parties where people dance and drink to the wee hours of the morning. I’ve been to big parades where adults show off magnificent costumes while onlookers take pictures. Although I’ve always enjoyed myself, I felt there was always something missing without kids being around. Was it because I had such a strong tie to my childhood and couldn’t shake those emotions about enjoying Halloween from a kids perspective? When I read this book, I found a paragraph that sort of answered this question for me. As the students were threatened by the possibility of Halloween being cancelled one boy reasoned why you need kids for Halloween to be a success.
“You have to have kids on one end of Halloween, to look forward to it and get scary books out of the library and cut up pumpkins and get dressed up and then, as soon as it’s dark, go trick-or-treating with your friends.”
Folks it doesn’t get much better than that! Especially the part about trick-or-treating with your friends. Trick-or-treating is one of the best events of the year for a kid that can’t be replaced. For me it remains an incredibly memorable part of my childhood. That is why I liked this book so much. It brought some clarity to how I felt about Halloween. It’s a cute story that I’d recommend for grade school kids. Or big kids like me who like to read children’s books!