Last night, my family and I joined countless Americans and participated in the great trick-or-treat Halloween tradition. I was proud to see the turnout and participation from the community members, but there was one problem. I had to go outside of my community to participate.
I live in Detroit and yes, we all know that there are more pressing issues to deal with here than trick-or-treating. The bus system is a joke, the streets are dark, the ambulances and fire trucks have seen better days, the school system is the laughing stock of the nation, unemployment is high, crime is off the hook and a partridge in a pear tree. We got all that. Those are issues that we (citizens) have to press our elected officials to address.
What about the issues that we have control over that affect our quality of life, like passing out candy in our own communities on Halloween so that we don’t have to drag our children to the suburbs to get candy?
Have we gotten so frustrated with our leaders and our communities that we just throw our hands up on everything else? Or are we so consumed with our own selfish vices and preoccupations that we don’t take time or money to prepare for things like Halloween? What about making Detroit a welcoming environment for families with children? The fact that I even feel the need to address this issue is a problem in itself, and it’s not just me. I mentioned this briefly to my husband last night, and was overheard by another Detroit parent trick-or-treating in the suburbs. He walked up to me and said “I feel exactly the same way”, and he had only heard a small portion of our conversation.
I love Detroit and couldn’t picture myself living anywhere else. I want to see this city prosper and return to its former glory. As citizens, we have to be active in this revitalization and start to take responsibility for our own quality of life. We can no longer wait for the city leadership to get their act together before we do the same.
Our children deserve to be able to trick-or-treat in their own neighborhoods and venture out only by choice, not out of lack of participants. If you don’t celebrate Halloween for religious purposes, fine. If you passed out candy or at least greeted the kids last night, good. If you work evenings and nights, and can’t participate, great! Everyone else, I challenge you (myself included) to do something for Halloween next year and make your presence known in the community. Put on some makeup, stand outside and wave to the kids. That doesn’t t cost a thing. If you have a few extra dollars, pass out candy. If you want to go all out, do both. But please, let’s do something!
There is no doubt in my mind that we can work together as a community and create a family friendly presence in the City of Detroit. We just need everyone who can contribute to do so.