By Seth Daniel
Halloween is a lost art in most places.
Trick-or-treaters are on the downswing in most communities and the further you go out in the suburbs, the less of the traditional one sees. Most places rely on “safe” indoor Halloween events, or organized parties rather than the old door-to-door stuff where kids and families converge out in the streets.
It’s exactly the opposite in Charlestown, and perhaps many here don’t realize what a special and unique celebration it is in the Town – where thousands and thousands of people can come together in the dark and wander around the streets in costume without the slightest incident or misgiving.
This year marked the 30th year of such a celebration, and Saturday’s fete was as colossal as ever. Virtually every business and organization pitched in to support the event. DJ Smokey Cain played some great music for the kids to dance to, and CSAC provided a great photo booth. The Cooperative Bank set up a welcoming haunted street that made things seem extra special down on the Training Field. Meanwhile, neighbors in the Monument Square and Training Field area dispensed thousands of pieces of candy in the most generous way imaginable.
That was just the half of it, though.
It’s the mood and the energy of the event that makes it different.
We’ve tried other parts of the City in previous years for Halloween.
Beacon Hill is ok.
In Dorchester, the crowds are extensive, but there is no official event, and there isn’t much to it except large crowds getting candy from homes on a few selected streets.
JP has an interesting event, but JP is so hip and socially-aware that candy is out of the question. Kids are more likely to get literature about a cause than a Snickers bar.
Safe to say there were more Snickers bars given out in Charlestown than social justice bumper stickers.
My kids – who are the experts on Halloween – said Charlestown’s March Around the Monument is always “magical.” They had the time of their lives this year, and despite the crowds, never grew all that anxious or scared. They got all the candy they wanted and got to observe some of the best, and most creative, costumes in the city, in my opinion (thumbs up to the realistic robot guy who was walking around with a TV screen on his chest, and the little girl who was dressed as a three-layer cake).
The event is safe, it is family-friendly and it packs an energy that has been missing from Halloween in other places for decades – where kids can take over the streets (which are shut down) and for one night not have to worry about all the dangers that we constantly tell them about here in the city.
My kids kept asking me, “Can we go over there to that house?”
I kept telling them, “Of course, you can go anywhere you want. It’s Halloween.”
That doesn’t happen without great planning and just the right touch.
Charlestown does it the old way and the right way on Halloween, and in this day and age, that’s certainly a treat.