SWEET TALK: Celebrating the Days of “Legalized Blackmail”

Be scared....

No matter where I’ve moved over the years in the Los Angeles area, one trend has remained constant: fewer and fewer kids knocking on my door and yelling, “Trick or treat!” on Halloween night. Over the last three years, not one knock. Crickets.

I know that trick-or-treat is continuing out there without me. Some neighborhoods such as Alegria Avenue in Sierra Madre pull out all the stops with haunted house decorations, and droves of children show up to soak up the fun.

But, by and large, it would seem that Dear Abby and her readers finally got their way, and the cherished tradition of trick-or-treat is almost obsolete. No more hooligans hurling cookies and apples on people’s lawns! No more elderly people on fixed incomes having to starve in order to meet the insatiable demands of spoiled youth!

Dear Abby and Her Readers Wage War

But, also, no more youthful rites of going on a great adventure… running wild in the streets, wondering what sort of candy bounty one might score and wondering if some teenage hooligans might come along and snatch one’s plunder in one swift, malicious flash. Halloween now is organized, fair, and supervised. Many may argue that this is progress, but, still, something precious has also been lost.

In honor of the days of yore, here’s a look at some of those wonderful old trick-or-treat candy bags along with Dear Abby from 1984 for your perusing pleasure.

Whatever you do for Halloween this year, here’s to a great one filled with happy haunting memories!

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Darlene Lacey

About Darlene Lacey

Darlene is the author of "Classic Candy: America's Favorite Sweets, 1950-80" and curator of the Candy Wrapper Museum, which is comprised of her personal collection which she began as a teenager in the 70s. The CWM has been featured in numerous TV shows, magazines, newspapers and blogs, and made its art gallery debut in 2010 at the Scion Space's "Palate" show.
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