I think it would be fair to say that trust is an important theme here at Matador: Trust the locals, trust yourself, trust your companions, trust karma — and you’ll get more out of your travels.

It’s a message that comes through again and again, in our coverage of Couchsurfing or home swaps, and in articles like 10 Travel Risks Worth Taking and How To Travel the World for Free.

To my mind, it’s a message we could all remind ourselves of when we’re at home, too.

When I was growing up, trick-or-treating on Halloween was one of the highlights of my year. My parents would walk me all around the area where we lived, we’d pass friends from school, knock on doors and actually recognize the people who answered. When I got a little older – say, around 8 years old? – I started exercising a little more Halloween freedom. My parents would wait at the corner while a friend and I worked a whole block alone, and soon enough October 31st meant my friends and I had the run of the entire neighbourhood.

Of course, we made sure to get home safe before the older kids came out and started smashing pumpkins, and of course, our parents sifted through our pillow cases full of candy in a cursory check for that mythical razor blade. But generally, nobody worried much. We may have been dressed in creepy costumes, but Halloween night wasn’t really about being afraid.

Seems to me that a lot has changed since then. I don’t see as many kids out trick-or-treating any more, and those that do often pile out of a minivan driven by a watchful adult. There isn’t the same freedom that I experienced — instead, I see a lot more fear.

Some might not see this as much of a loss. After all, Halloween is yet another over-commercialized holiday that forces people to buy, buy, buy, and – worst of all – fills kids up with junk food, right? Well, sure. I guess.

But while the candy may not be a loss, the trust that it represented – the same trust that lets us surf a stranger’s couch, or accept a dinner invitation from a local – certainly is.

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Stepping off my soap box, and on a vaguely-related note, here’s the Onion’s latest hilarious video: Has Halloween Become Overcommercialized?


In The Know: Has Halloween Become Overcommercialized?

Photo by Paul Keleher (Creative Commons)