Don’t get me wrong. The few times I was able to go trick-or-treating as a kid, I loved it. The problem is Halloween wasn’t celebrated where I grew up, in Italy, ironically the birthplace of that most ghoulish of religion sects, Roman Catholicism. The Day of the Dead on November 1st—is anyone even aware that this is what is really being celebrated?—was a somber occasion on which all of those witch-like little old ladies in black, and they were legion, went to the cemeteries and tended the graves. But the night before was bereft of kids going around knocking on doors and asking for candy. Nothing happened at all. I guess all the little old ladies just got a good night’s sleep before getting up for hours of marble tombstone scrubbing.
My sister and I were forbidden candy and granulated sugar growing up, so we found ways to procure it, usually pinching a few hundred lire here and there and buying sweets when we walked the dogs. I believe we were allowed to visit the American embassy compound once or twice after we first moved to Rome, but my parents were somewhat disdainful of lower-level embassy employees, Marine guards and the like, so the kibosh was put on that ritual as well.
Perhaps I can blame my sneering at Halloween on my upbringing and my parents’ attitude. I’m sure Mum being an Aussie didn’t help much either; whatever she was raised without was good enough for us, too.