Oct 31, 2013

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Today is Halloween - one of my most favorite of holidays.  However, my small midwestern town will not be having trick or treating today because it’s... rainy.

61 degrees and rainy.

Not typhoon-type rainy.  Not a little thing that we like to call Thundersleet.  Not even bolts of lightning.  We have what could best be called a case of the drizzles.  And the high winds that our police chief was concerned about? Well, my house is five blocks from Lake Michigan and the trees outside are barely moving.

Talk about your nanny-state.  Jeesh.

I am a child of the 70s.  My parents kicked me out of the house as soon as it was trick or treating time -- snowsuit stuffed under the costume they bought for under $5 at Ben Franklin’s and a mask I couldn’t see out of, pillowcase in hand.  I traveled from house to house in my neighborhood and beyond and didn’t return until (a) 10 o’clock or (b) the pillowcase got too heavy to carry.  Oh, and I ate homemade popcorn balls and candied apples without first checking them for razor blades.  It’s hard to believe, but I’m still alive.

As a kid, I went trick or treating in snow, rain, blizzard, and occasionally (although it didn’t happen often) halfway decent weather.  I mean, it’s candy and people are just giving. it. away. For FREE!  I didn’t care if it was thundersleeting with temperatures hovering around 33 degrees and I was being chased by zombies - I was going outside and not coming home for HOURS.  And nothing horrible or tragic happened beyond a belly ache and some wet clothes.

I have taken my kids trick or treating in similar kinds of weather.  When I lived in Minnesota, they had two costumes - the one to wear to school, and the one made out of polar fleece to wear Halloween night.  And, holy crap! They’re still alive too.

I mean, honestly. It’s raining. Barely. And they canceled trick or treating because the powers that be think the weather might be better tomorrow.  For crying out loud people... we live in MICHIGAN. Where it can be 75 degrees one minute and a blizzard the next.  You can’t predict this stuff.

To make things even more confusing (and worse, to be honest) our city postponed the trick or treating, but the outlying townships (that are less than a handful of miles from my house in the center of the city) still have it goin’ on... and the farm town 8 miles east is a complete go.

What are we, Ludvillians? Wimps? Sugarplums? Do we believe that we’re going to melt from a little rain?  

So, here’s my message to Police Chief Burnett:
This is MY Halloween.  These are MY children. And it should be MY choice weather or not (pun intended) I take my children out for the holiday.  And you, sir, are whatever Halloween’s version of Scrooge is.  Parents have taken time off work to take their kids trick or treating and can’t now because you felt the need to protect us all from some light precipitation.  It’s ridiculous.  Especially considering no one else in any of the surrounding areas felt it was necessary and it’s what a lot of people are calling a clusterf... well... you get the picture.
This is embarrassing.


  1. I'm probably talking out of turn, but a friend of mine who saw your post asks, "I don't understand... can't you just, you know, go anyway? Are the police going to arrest people?"

    I share his confusion. Most holidays are a blend of tradition and spontaneity. The day itself holds a special place - and any other day won't serve as a substitute, in some ways. Certain activities agreed upon for the season, other activities meant for the specific day. But then you also have an agreed-upon set of activities that might or might not happen. Too much scripting, planning and such can spoil whatever spirit is meant to be expressed.

    Who owns any particular day? Does anyone? As my friend asks, why not go anyway?

    Bear Lake, MI

    1. Your friend makes a very good point. What are the police going to do? But I think the problem is, aren't we going to make people mad by knocking on their door when the "powers that be" canceled it? At least, that's where I'm coming from. If I knew every door I was knocking at, I'd go anyway. But part of Halloween is dependent upon the generosity of strangers and they've been told it's not happening today. It's a bit like showing up at the party a day early and expecting to be invited in.

  2. Hi Andrea,
    I suppose whether people get mad depends on how much legitimacy they give to officials on the matter of celebration. After all, the officials are hardly the party hosts. The bags of candy or homemade treats are probably already purchased and waiting. Tradition is on the side of the event happening on Oct. 31, rain or shine. Participation (voluntary) is usually signaled by lit porch lights or glowing jack o'lanterns.

    We had an interesting situation in Manistee the previous weekend. The downtown event organizers decided to leave merchant trick-or-treating off the final version of the event schedule. Some merchants apparently felt that children and families were grabbing at the candy without a glance at the merchandise (or along those lines, reportedly). Other merchants were disappointed at the decision. So a River Street resident printed up some posters and distributed them to businesses that wanted to participate. I understand it went well and the final outcome appears to be a distribution of labor for the benefit of all.

    What did you and your family find? Did you have any visitors to your doorstep on Halloween? How many compared with Nov. 1?


    1. I'm a horrible blogger - I never saw this reply. Sorry!

      We went on November 1st. It was rainier and ickier than it was on Halloween. But plenty of candy was had and devoured. But personally? It just didn't feel the same.