Missing the Halloweens of old

It doesn’t seem as if we’re only a few days away from Halloween. The crisp wind and colorful leaves are here, but beyond that it just doesn’t seem as if that day of ghosts and goblins is anywhere near.

In fact, if we hadn’t been publishing the lists of Trick-or-Treating activities in recent weeks, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it was taking place this year.

There used to be an excitement in the air as the day came close, with talk about costumes and parties, a haunted house attractions in many of our communities, parades and school events.

I just haven’t heard much celebration this year, with the exception of the Haunted School of Terror in Weirton and overhearing some firefighters in Jefferson County, Ohio, discussing Trick-or-Treat patrol over the radio on Saturday.

There used to be big celebrations and activities all over the area, and people didn’t think they had to go to Pittsburgh to get a good scare.

There were hayrides, events for kids, events for teens, little parades at the schools, parties at churches and firehouses.

Occasionally, you would even hear whispers of possible pranks being planned for the evening.

By the way, for our West Virginia folks, pretty much everyone is observing on Oct. 31 this year in the event you missed the listing we’ve been running.

We don’t get any Trick-or-Treaters in my neighborhood anymore. There really aren’t very many young kids there these days, certainly not like it was when I was young and there were droves of them walking around.

We don’t even turn the porch light on these days.

It’s kind of sad, really.

There hasn’t even been a lot on television to help us get in the “spirit” of things.

I don’t think I’ve heard of very many Halloween specials on television, outside of a couple children’s shows with the Toy Story or Monsters Inc. characters.

I haven’t even seen any notice for “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” I have it on DVD, but there’s just something special about watching it during a television broadcast.

I miss seeing some of the old Halloween shows.

I never got into the slasher movies or things so many seem to enjoy watching this time of year.

I always liked the classic stories of ghosts and urban legends; the ones that would give you a good chill down your back but not necessarily prevent you from going to sleep at night.

I can remember just about every show would do some kind of Halloween special episode, but, these days where so many programs involve zombies, vampires, werewolves and so on, I suppose that would probably be a bit of overkill.

Maybe TV Land or Nickelodeon could show a bunch of the Halloween episodes from the shows they broadcast.

By the way, does anyone know where I can get a copy of the old cartoon version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow? You know, the semi-musical one narrated by Bing Crosby.

I know things are different today than they were 20, 30 or 40 years ago. That’s something we all have to accept at one point or another in our lives.

It just seems as if the joys and excitement of Halloween would continue for everyone. But, like much of everything else, it seems to have turned into an entirely commercial celebration.

The TV shows are only based on the products someone thinks money can be made from, most costumes are bought from the store (even though we all know the ones you make yourself are the best and most creative, right?), and the festive atmosphere I remember just isn’t here anymore.

Maybe I’m just getting too old to think about it. Perhaps I’m just overthinking it and it’s something today’s kids do enjoy.

I hope so, because this is one of those times of year that should be enjoyed, just as long as no one gets into trouble.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)