When I was young, around 2nd or 3rd grade, my parents would let me go trick or treating with friends, no parents. It was so different back then. My friends and I would trick or treat for a few blocks, and then without our parents' knowledge, we would hike FAR AWAY (giving up the chance to stock up on candy) to a house where there was a woman dressed like a witch, stirring her witch's brew in a big kettle. She was always there, surrounded by fake spider webs and scary sound effects. If my parents had any idea how far I went, I would have been whipped.
One year in my new neighborhood, I dressed up as a TV set. My rabbit ear antennae kept getting caught in small trees between houses, kids were turning my knobs, and I could barely see out of the slit I had cut in the "screen." When I got back home from trick or treating, my dad had a special request of me. On my screen I had written, "Channel 2 News." My dad knew that a guy in our subdivision worked for Channel 2, so he INSISTED we walk all the way to this guy's house, and it was FAR!! We walked and walked and walked. All the people had now gone inside and turned their lights off, even this man. But my dad still made me go up and ring the stupid doorbell. He was trying to show me off. The guy answered the door and didn't even notice my screen, gave me the candy, and closed the door. All of that for nothing, no "wow" or "how clever," etc. that my dad wanted to hear.
Every year after trick or treating, my parents would drive me and my little brother about 7 miles away to my paternal grandparents' house. My parents would make us stand in front of the front door and ring the bell, while they "hid" off to the side. My grandfather would open the door and act surprised, "Wow, what a cute cowboy!" "What a cute TV Set!" "I wonder where THEY came from?" blah blah blah. Then we would take off our "masks" and say, "It's us, Pappy!" And then my parents would come out of hiding and we would go in. My grandfather would look through our candy stashes and pick out all of his favorite candies. I used to hate that part. As I grew older, I would pick out candies on my way to his house that I didn't want him to take away.
It was around that time that a boy died eating poisoned Pixie Stix. Turns out, his dad poisoned him. But Halloween just wasn't the same after that. Malls started having "safe" trick or treating. Churches started having "fall festivals." But by then, I had grown out of it anyway.
When my kids were little, we would take them trick or treating about a block or so, then take them to a party or carnival to play games, win prizes, etc. I wished I could give them the freedom I had when I was younger, but it just wasn't possible. Things were so different back then; or were they?