Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - Updated: 1:03 AM
In just a few days, hundreds of children in our area will dress up in costume and go out in search of candy bars, Sour Patch Kids, plastic spider rings and small packets of pretzels.
Unfortunately, many of them won't be going door-to-door in what's becoming the lost art of panhandling for the regular size candy bars most houses keep hidden.
In some ways, that's unfortunate.
The rise of 'trunk or treats' isn't all bad. It gives kids a safe place to go and shaves off traveling time and expense for parents. It's easier to go to one parking lot and rack up a sack full all at once. It also gives the hosts -- be it a business, church or civic group -- a chance to communicate with their guests.
All those are positive things, and nothing to be discouraged.
But (there's always one of those in this type of column), there's also some benefits to the old fashioned method of dumping a kid out in a neighborhood and having them wander the streets (supervised, of course) looking for that tell-tale porch light signifying the home owner has something to offer.
It teaches a skill that our society is losing the ability to do: asking for something.
As a parent, it's easy to disagree with that statement. It's a good bet that your child has no problem asking you for all the stuff not on the grocery list when you go to Food Giant. They probably ask if bed time can be 30 minutes later. There's no shortage of questions about eating, playing or getting.
But (there's a second one in this column) those requests all come at home.
It's different asking for things outside the family.
Being willing to ask a someone you don't know for something you need (in this instance, candy) takes more than just courage. It takes communication, something that may be getting lost on generations growing up with text messaging, snapchatting and memes.
That communication is necessary as they grow older and have to ask strangers for a job, for a raise, for their first home loan. So many important conversations later in life come outside the comfort zone most of us grow up in. And few of them can be done with a photo of what you ate for lunch or a meme of Grumpy Cat.
There are other benefits, too.
Making it an opportunity to encourage manners and giving kids a chance to speak to adults goes a long way.
It's a chance for life lessons. Make the most of it.