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Why Halloween Matters, and Why It Shouldn't This Year

Trick-or-treating wasn't the same this year, but was anything?

Next to "when is my power going to come back on?," on our Marlboro-Colts Neck Patch Facebook page, the most-asked question was "when is Halloween?"

After Gov. Chris Christie postponed the haunted holiday due to Hurricane Sandy, many townships including Marlboro and Colts Neck prolonged that postponement as power was restored and streets were cleared.

And while I understand the sentiment behind trick-or-treating and the excitement of going door-to-door, I think some of us missed an opportunity to teach.

Normalcy after any disaster is paramount. For younger children, the idea of not being able to run down the street in a fantastic costume can be heart breaking. But as adults, this could be a time to teach about sacrifice and giving back.

Both Marlboro and Colts Neck rescheduled Halloween, creating contained trunk-or-treat events, but some residents still wanted the door-to-door experience.

What if you lived in a town that no longer has doors to knock on?

And what if we sat our kids down, from toddlers to teenagers, and explained how we can help? Fill what would be a trick-or-treat bag with canned goods or cleaning supplies and bring your child to drop them at donation sites. 

Giving kids some semblance of normal through a trunk-or-treat event is important, but so is the lesson of being thankful and giving.

No matter what, Halloween just doesn't seem as important this year.

Marlboro Resident November 16, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I have to respectfully disagree with your post today. Why should we just now be teaching our children about giving back, because it hit close to home? We have always had people that are needy. We have been trying to get through an economical low that has so many families who have had their needs met now in a situation that they do not even have enough to feed their families. We have been battling natural disasters throughout this country and internationally much too frequently lately. Every day there is an opportunity to teach your children about giving up stuff and giving back to people that need it. What has happened here is truly tragic, but so was what happened to those who suffered from Katrina. People from all over are helping and volunteering to establish hope and reestablish the communities that have been devastated. Halloween is one child holiday that most every child celebrated in this country, no matter their religion. It is a fun, quick holiday, that gives you a chance to go out and pretend you are something you are not. At a time when many children are not old enough to understand what has happened to their homes, it would be one “normal” thing that they can participate in. So my question to you is, how can taking away Halloween, teach children to give back? Either parents ARE going to teach their children, or they ARE NOT going to teach children how important it is to help out others.
DAEBJ November 16, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I am with "marlboro resident". As a parent, you should ALWAYS be teaching your children to be upstanding, decent members of society. A THREE year old is not going to understand it either way. So to say that they should understand that well ... Makes me think you don't have children. My 5 and 3 year old went through their clothing, helped ne bring things to a fonation shelter and stayed there without complaint for 3 hours while we helped out. A few days later, we went to freehold mall to trick or treat. You can have both. To "punish" small children because of mother nature's fury, is just ridiculous. I kept getting emails throughout the week telling me which "stores" were open for shopping while i was in the dark. Because i was going to get my hair and nails done ...
Debra Ross November 16, 2012 at 02:10 PM
The point of not having door to door trick or treating this year is simple. Our streets are still not safe, especially for those who go around after dark. There are piles upon piles of downed foliage and cut branches that are clogging the sidewalks and if kids are in the streets, especially at night because the sidewalks are impassable, that's an accident just waiting to happen.
Marlboro Mel November 16, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I agree...we can teach our children to care for others, while still allowing them to enjoy something they look forward to all year. Many of them have been frightened by what they have experienced the last couple of weeks, and are too young to understand. There's no reason they need to be punished when a simple thing like trunk or treat can bring them a little joy. We already have the candy and the costumes, so why not? In addition, Marlboro is using this as an opportunity to collect food for those in need.

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