Halloween is just around the corner and we must admit there have been lots of changes since it was a pagan autumn festival with ancient rituals that began over 3000 years ago. The original reason of its beginning is rooted, not because of the candy, but because Halloween was meant to be a celebration of successful harvests and the fear of the coming winters when many people might die.
My how times have changed! In our generation we’ve witnessed costumes going from trick and treaters wearing bedsheets as ghosts, to little hoboes loosely donned in dads’ fedora and old sport coats and slacks. Even in many cases “tricks” were prevalent with an overturned outhouse or a piece of furniture hoisted atop a flagpole. The holiday of today can find “do-good tricks” of a youngster wearing flashing pumpkin rings and mouthpieces while giving friendly greetings to the potential candy-giver who answered the doorbell.
“Treats” have changed too. The treats of apples and popcorn balls are now few. They have been replaced by unimaginable varieties of Halloween candies. One recent advertisement offered 27 varieties of packaged sweets at “huge savings.” You can see why now oversized treat bags are being marketed.
All this reminiscing (some verbal) occurred when I was walking a couple of my canine friends down at the shelter and the two dogs seemed to take notice. It may have been my imagination, but it appeared they understood and even were exchanging their own viewpoints about Halloween.
One dog asked, “Did you see that advertisement titled ‘Dressed to Thrill’ that pictured dogs in boutique pet costumes, showing one dog dressed in a cape and headgear with his poor ears pinched through two small holes in the headgear?”
“Yeah, and even another dog pictured had wings mounted on his back,” the other dog answered. “Boy am I glad we’re at the pet shelter . . . where we won’t be taken door to door by our former owners and having people laugh at us.”
The other responded, “Last year I had to do my tricks on a homeowner’s doorstep and all I got was a few pieces of cheap dog food while my master got candy!”
“At least I didn’t get a popcorn ball that was too big and stuck to my teeth,” the other dog responded.
That conversation altered my own personal Halloween plans. On Halloween we may not have candy for the dogs, but we will have a treat for our visiting canines as well as those at the shelter.
RL Furse is publisher emeritus of the News-Register