Things were different when I was a kid. There's no debating that.
Growing up in that baby boomer era meant two things... One, there were a LOT of kids your age in your neighborhood... Two, you had the freedom to just go outside and "disappear" for an entire day without the need for your parents to issue an Amber Alert. Needless to say this was very liberating for us. AND very healthy - both physically and mentally.
Gone forever are the days of our children running off to the "woods" for hours on end building forts, climbing trees and simply just exploring - not only because responsible parents today would never even dream of cutting their kids that kind of slack, but also because there are hardly any "woods" left to romp around in.
So because of that, also gone are the big Halloween nights we used to live for as well.
Given the freedoms I just described meant we were allowed to literally disappear for hours on end. To say Halloween was a big deal for us would be a major understatement.
I can remember it like it was yesterday:
4:00 - Head over to your friend's house, eat some pizza and start getting dressed in your costume.
5:00 - Grab your empty pillow case and head out to collect your booty. Systematically work the grid of neighborhood streets for blocks on end, never missing a house. Fill your pillow case so full you can hardly carry it anymore.
9:00 - Head back inside to dump and sort your candy. If it was a weekend, prepare to stay up all night playing board games and stuffing yourself so full of junk your mouth hurt from chewing so much.
Yes, things were different when I was a kid. There's no debating that.