Monday, November 2, 2015

Who let the police out on Halloween? Have things changed that much?

I have to admit to paying a little more attention to Halloween this year; it probably was the sight of my niece and nephew taking part in the holiday festivities that prevented this past weekend from being a total mourning spectacle.

My niece, Meira, is still peeved her fangs didn't stick
But just what has become of this holiday that I recall as such a childhood gorge-fest – being able to go around the neighborhood and gather up candy. The good stuff would be wiped out within a day, while the real nasty stuff is probably still tucked away in a jar somewhere all these decades later.

MY OWN HALLOWEEN memories center around one year I wore some costume that supposedly made me Speed Racer – as in the cartoon character, but not the one from that crummy film version made many decades later.

There was a Halloween parade throughout the school building, then we hit the surrounding neighborhood after school until it got dark.

Then we engaged in our sugar rush!

This year, I was at my father’s house in suburban Homewood on Saturday, where I literally saw three different occasions where a police squad car with its lights flashing and sirens blaring went driving down the rather residential block upon which he lives.

THERE LITERALLY WAS one point when the squad car with lights flashing was parked right outside my father’s house – although they weren’t there for us.

When I asked people in the neighborhood what was going on, nobody else seemed shocked. It seems this kind of attention is what they have come to expect.

Which makes me wonder “What the &#$!” I think I literally would still be creeped out at the sight of uniformed police officers having nothing better to do than check out the trick-or-treaters as they were walking from house to house.

And yes, when I checked later, I was told there was no specific incident being responded to by my father’s house. This literally was just the regular patrols through the neighborhood on a Halloween.

IT MAKES ME wonder what our society has become when we feel the need to have the ‘police state’ in force on what is one of the childhood top holidays! The same thing that, in Gary, Ind., has local officials discouraging trick-or-treat altogether in exchange for a city-sponsored party with way too much candy and games on hand.

Not that I didn’t know that local officials pay a lot more attention to the trick-or-treat spectacle than they used to. I have heard many local governments set their hours for when kids are supposed to be encouraged to trick-or-treat.

Although I know of one local government official in suburban Oak Forest who made sure this year to clarify that those “official” hours for candy-gathering are merely recommended.

The police didn’t have the authority to bust any seven-year-old who had the nerve to ask for a Three Musketeers mini-bar at 7:03 p.m.

ALTHOUGH I ALSO noticed while driving through the Mount Greenwood neighborhood on Friday that the Chicago Police were en force along Kedzie Avenue as the trick-or-treat, costumed crowd were out a day early.

And police were there to guide traffic to ensure that there wasn’t a sudden story about a ghost getting run over along 115th Street by some driver who was clueless enough not to see all the costumed kids and parents suddenly walking all over the place.

I do kind of wonder what these actual police would think of my niece Meira – who at age 12 came up with some girly-type police officer costume that she ghouled up with makeup and fangs to be a sort-of zombie. A zombie cop – complete with handcuffs. But no police baton!

Although in the best memory of a kid upset his costume got covered up with a heavy coat, she was upset that the fangs she paid nearly $10 for wouldn’t stick!


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