It's official, Colorado fall time is here. We went from 80 degrees to half a foot of snow in a day and a half. There really is no place like Colorado. You might hear it said that if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes. But, what I love about this time of the year, is not just the weather and the colors and football and the like, it is Halloween.
I am going to sound like an old fart here, so you will have to excuse me for a moment. When I was a kid, you would have been hard-pressed to see an adult walking with their children while they were trick or treating - much less driving at a safe distance as the kiddos walked the streets. No, most adults were at home sipping martinis passing out candy — having their own fun. What's more, you would have had a hard time driving in neighborhoods because all of the kids were in the streets in their costumes. Good luck on sleeping, we usually finished close to midnight. If we arrived home anytime before 10pm, most parents would have pushed us back out to get more candy.
Two years ago, when Halloween fell on a Friday night and we had unseasonably warm weather, my wife and I expected a large crowd. We live in a middle class suburban neighborhood outside of Denver. Crime is low, yards are well kept for the most part, many families with children occupy the houses around ours. It is the perfect neighborhood for trick or treating. We did our house up (as we usually do) with strobe lights, fog machines, webbing, and other "scary" items. All for the mere 30 kids that rang our doorbell.
A while back, I wrote the one thing that World of Warcraft does right is celebrate. Right now, with the dwindling numbers of trick or treaters, I am finding my Halloween desire satiated in Azeroth. To a certain degree, of course. Usually, I don't get too involved in the in-game festivals, holidays, or celebrations. But this time, I have determined to get as many Hallow's End Achievements as possible.
Along with being an achievement whore, which usually I am not, I am determined to get the helm off the Headless Horseman. Let's face it, that fight, while terribly easy, never gets old. He is such the archetypical villain. His laugh, his voice, it's perfect for Halloween. Not to mention, while I am at it, I really want the mount he drops.
In celebration of my childhood, I have been working on the Hallowed title. Getting around Azeroth has been especially fun while working toward this goal. Part of the title requires hitting most major towns and ports-of-call for trick or treats - to get the Trick or Treat achievement. It had been a while since I visited parts of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms. I had forgotten how much they had changed since the Shattering took place. As a result, it took some time, as I did not use the flight master too much, I rode or flew on my own mounts to do some sight seeing.
As you might know, when you go for a treat, you might get tricked, too. I can't tell you the many creatures I have been turned into from these tricks. I have been a ghost, wisp, frog, snake, cat, human, gnome, and so many others. Blizzard also offered some nice additions this year. The Check Your Head achievement was simply too much fun. I haven't had that kind of enjoyment tormenting alliance players outside of Stormwind in quite sometime. While I am at it, why aren't you all making any dwarves or gnomes? I was able to fly inside of Iron Forge and not one gnome or dwarf was around. However, I finally got those last two races in a battle ground, though.
In contrast, as I drive through my neighborhood, I am seeing houses decorated for Halloween, almost as if it were Christmas. Lights? Inflatable "monsters"? Really? Isn't this supposed to be a spooky holiday? Why does it all have to be, well, so cute and packaged?
Go around Azeroth and you will see how much fun it is to view the various "ghosts" pinned above the entrance to each inn. It reminded me of what is missing today, that element of spookiness. Today, we go for cute. There is a jack-o-lantern somewhere in the Blade's Edge Mountains where there are ogres who run the encampment - and the carved pumpkin has only one eye to resemble them.
Blizzard, though, helps us to remember the past through these festivals. It gives us a moment to remember what it all used to be like in reality, that is until we got all hyped up on fear and over-protection. Again, as I have asked repeatedly - about why so many turn to virtual realms. Is it because reality has become so stifling? You know the answer.
Here is the reality - while many parents likely fear for their children's safety on Halloween, as far as I can tell, only two deaths have occurred due to tainted Halloween candy and the especially sad part is that other family members were responsible for these deaths. One child was poisoned by his father for a life insurance policy - and the other was an accidental overdose of heroin laced candy. Sadly, it was later determined that the child got into his uncle's stash of heroin and the family sprinkled the remaining heroin on the candy, in an effort to protect the uncle. That is it. Not one case of tainted Halloween candy has ever been discovered. No razor blade, no syringe.
Yet, we keep our kids inside after dark or take them to the mall. What's more, crime across the nation is down. We are safer on our streets at this time in history than we have been for a very long time. Including my childhood.
Why are so many fleeing to virtual reality?
So, here is my recommendation for this year's Halloween - if you're comfortable with the idea (obviously, you know what is best for your family and circumstances). After you have received your Hallowed title, like I did on Sedagive, send the kids out trick or treating, pour yourself a cocktail (my wife and I used to offer a beer or some beverage for the adults walking their kids about), sit outside if the weather permits and hand out the candy. Let your kids stay out late -like you did when you were their age.
What are your plans for Halloween?
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