My Halloween duties have long been delegated to answering the door and passing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
It’s an easy gig.
I just it on the couch, watch whatever fright festival is on cable and wait for a knock at the door.
Then, I compliment the princesses and act afraid of the goblins, give the kids their candy and retire back to the couch.
There was a time, not long ago, when I would not make it back to the couch before my door was again pounded upon.
These past couple of years, however, I’ve ended up eating more candy than I’ve passed out.
Excuse the pun, but Halloween has been, well, kind of dead.
At first, I thought it was my neighborhood.
Maybe all the kids were too grown to dress up and celebrate Halloween.
Maybe they too had retired to the couch.
But, it seemed that everyone I asked had faced a similar shock.
Their doorbells weren’t ringing nearly as much as they used to, and most had noticed that trick-or-treaters had stopped coming by as early as 7:30 p.m.
Americans spend nearly $9 billion on Halloween each year.
Most of that money goes to candy sales, the rest to costumes.
An estimated 75 percent of Americans celebrate the holiday.
These statistics, however, seem to beg one question: where are all the kids?
You don’t have to look too far for answers.
Last year, the events of Sept. 11 had the entire nation on edge for months to follow, which surely played a role on Halloween.
With the threat of further attacks, in any given place, at any given time, it’s no wonder why parents kept their children in on Halloween, or at least limited their trick-or-treating time.
Unfortunately, this season is no different.
The threat of another attack is fresh in the minds of Americans as we cope with a sniper who has killed and injured several people in the Washington, D.C. area.
I used to miss the days when it was me knocking at a house, with an outstretched pillowcase in hand.
Now, in this day and age, I’m not so sure I want those days back.
The sad reality is that America knows of fear every day.
Our country is full of enough real-life killers and bogeymen, maniacs want more than a Snickers or Kit-Kat.
So, going out for Halloween seems to be a moot point.
Nonetheless, I’ll assume my usual position on the couch again this year.
With a giant bucket of candy in hand, I’ll await a knock at my door.
Tim Wiseley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org