Tomorrow night I'll be sitting out on my stoop, giving out bags and bags of candy. It might be cold. It might be that none of my friends visit. Sixteen-year-olds might come by with no costume and pillowcases for bags, and not even say "Trick-or-treat!" But it's ok.
Why? Because when I was a kid, Hallowe'en (short for All Hallowmass Even) was the best. Fuck that "Be good for Santa Claus" shit: love on Hallowe'en was undemanding, and came in the palpable, consumable form of Hershey's Kisses and Snickers bars. I remember Hallowe'ens where my grocery bag burst on a neighbor's porch from candy overload. Of course we never ate it all: Mom always wound up throwing some away by $mas.
But the precursors of today's Hallowe'en paranoia were already there: don't eat non-factory-wrapped candy, don't eat that candied apple (who knows how many razor blades might be in it), and damn sure don't eat that wad of popcorn in Saran Wrap. Hell, this was San Francisco in the 60s: maybe someone dosed it with LSD! Of course that was all bullshit: Hallowe'en poisoners turn out to be the parents of the poisoned children, not random strangers. (I think I might have read that in Jan Brunvand's Curses, Broiled Again, but I'm not sure.)
And now we have Hallowe'en dangers on another front: fundy Xtians using Hallowe'en to threaten children with Hell's Fires. Richard Evans Lee notes Xtians scaring kids with bogus, hellish Hallowe'ens on Edifying Spectacle. The Xtian "Virtual Hell" Richard notes could have come out of the theme park built around God's body in James Morrow's Blameless in Abaddon.
So who's going to save Hallowe'en from demented, murderous parents and demented, murderous Xtians? I don't know, but I'm going to do my best. I'm going to hand out real chocolate, not poisonous candy or poisonous ideas. So don't go to that party; go to the grocery store, buy a bunch of candy, turn on your porch light, and shovel it out to whomever shows up. Most will be grateful. Twenty years later, maybe a few will think back and remember the good time they had. And while you're handing out treats, help yourself to something yummy: you're a good person.