What has become of Halloween?

My neighborhood sees a lot of trick-or-treaters.  Last year: 300.  This year I am estimating it to be around 200.   This is wonderful. 

Less wonderful?  They are all wearing the same 4 or 5 store-bought costumes. (Iron Man, Spidey, Princess Jasmine, Snow White....) Last Halloween I leaned down and asked a little girl in a rayon ball gown, "Which Disney Princess are you?".  She looked at me with scorn and incomprehension in her eyes: "I don't know." (Subtext: "Why would I even care?")  Then she grabbed a handful of candy, and was off in the blink of an eye.

This year, the tone was different, but no less dispiriting. I asked a child what kind of candy he wanted from the trick-or-treating bowl and received this reply: "Something without fat, please."


Half an hour earlier a mother encouraged a child to pick his own candy from the bowl, and when he chose a candy bar, plucked it from his hands with the words, "You can't eat that!", and grabbed a lollipop for him instead.  As they walked away she muttered (audibly), "We don't eat that junk."