Halloween’s changed from good old days


Dear Grandparenting: I fondly remember my Halloweens as a kid growing up on a farm. One year, an old neighborhood lady dressed up as a witch. She had a big tub of water in front of her house. We actually had to bob for apples, sticking our faces in a tub of deep water trying to grab floating apples with our teeth.

The old lady kept cackling, saying, “Catch it and you can keep it.” But those darn apples kept slipping deeper into the water every time I touched it. Took me a while to finally get one. The other kids I was trick-or-treating with were all bobbing too. We all got soaked sticking our heads underwater but it was worth it. Everyone laughed and carried on, and we had a ball.

I happened to mention this to my two grandchildren. Ryan is 5 and Beth is 7. One made a face. The other looked at me like I was from Mars. “Why would anyone go to all that trouble?” said Beth. “Sounds like torture if you ask me.”

Guess I’m a little out of practice on this Halloween thing. I remember it as a low-key holiday that kids lost interest in once they became teenagers. Do kids still hit the streets in costumes and carry on like we did or what? Lloyd R. Jackson, Bel Air, Maryland

Dear Lloyd: Halloween 2017 comes guaranteed to bear little resemblance to Halloweens of your yesteryears.

We’re sure there will always be costumed little people out and about as dark falls on Tuesday, October 31, but they won’t be the only ones. Halloween is now a major dress-up, party-time happening for children of all ages — especially adults.

Just follow the money. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will set a new Halloween spending record well north of $8 billion, a big jump over the $6.8 billion spent in 2015. Less than 15 percent is spend on children’s costumes. Adults tend to spend significantly more on their Halloween garb. The biggest spenders are men 18 to 34.

So Halloween is no longer the sleepy little night out with the kiddies. Some trace the uptick in adult participation to the collapse of the housing bubble that led to 2008’s great depression.

A little escapism seemed in order then and still does. Social media also plays a role in the growth of Halloween’s popularity, as revelers exchange and compare their costume photos on Facebook, Twitter, etc. And America still rolls out the welcome mat for young grandchildren. Retailers expect to set a new record for Halloween candy sales.


“Great Granny Gracie” from The Villages, Florida, weighed in with a “surprising discovery” about herself.

“It’s funny. Things my kids did that got on my nerves can seem cute when my grandkids do them.”


By Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.

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