I don't get trunk-or-treat. I know that is the supposed to be the new-safer version of trick-or-treat.
In this version of kids gathering candy, a school, a church or a community sets up a celebration in a parking lot where people can hand out candy, goodies or good times to kids in a confined, and hopefully much safer environment than on a city street.
In the end, though, I am not sure it accomplishes that mission.
One of the things I like about going out trick or treating with my kids (and now my grandkids) is that I really get to see who my neighbors are.
I know, kind of, who lives up in my neck of the woods, but matching faces and houses gives me more of a perspective of the make up of my little world.
My grandkids point out where their friends live and I get to meet moms.
There is always the house that has "special treats" for the kids they know well. I make sure they are people I also know well.
We get a chance to use the time walking from house to house to talk about important things like "are ghosts real?" and "why do I blow smoke (steam) out of my mouth when it's cold?"
I teach them about respecting people's property as I make them walk up the sidewalks to the doors and not cut across lawns.
Children have to practice speaking to strangers when they ring the door bell and say "trick or treat."
Since there are so many cars full of kids being driven up and down the streets, it is a great time for us to reinforce safety issues and the dangers of the road.
Walking around a couple blocks also helps them blow off the energy that has been building all day after the school parties and such. When it is cold enough, they calm down pretty quick and call it a night.
If I am to keep my kids safe, I need to know everyone in my neighborhood, not just those who attend the same church, work or community activities as me.
I think that is why I have always welcomed the trick or treat tradition.
I also get to snoop a bit behind the normally closed doors of the households that surround me and my neighbors get to peek into my house.
We compliment each other and glean ideas to improve our homes from what each of us has accomplished in the past year.
We connect just a bit in a life that keeps many of us running from dusk to dawn in our little world.
Maybe in a high crime area of this country, where even adults risk their lives to walk the streets, trunk-or treat is a good alternative.
But I hope that here in our little community where a bit of vigilance and adult supervision is the key to a safe activity, we need to keep this tradition alive.
Let's hope for good weather and good treats next week.
For anyone living in my neighborhood who hasn't got their candy yet, I love those little boxes of Milk Duds and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
OK, I confess.
I do raid the grandkids candy bags and high grade a few of the good stuff inside.