Is it out with the old, and in with the new Halloween traditions?

There's no denying this newer Halloween tradition is here to stay. But there's a tragic downside to the event that many of us have never even considered. Trunk-or-treats are systematically robbing the elderly of the joys of Halloween. 

Trunk-or-treats are excluding elderly Idahoans.

While a trunk-or-treat is perceived as a safer, more convenient alternative to traditional trick-or-treating, it can exclude senior Idahoans who might already feel isolated from their community.

According to research from the National Institute on Aging, loneliness is a real threat to elderly Americans around the nation. 

The misery and suffering caused by chronic loneliness are very real and warrant attention,” she said. “As a social species, we are accountable to help our lonely children, parents, neighbors, and even strangers in the same way we would treat ourselves. Treating loneliness is our collective responsibility. [...] Losing a sense of connection and community changes a person’s perception of the world.

-Steve Cole, director of the Social Genomics Core Laboratory at UCLA

For many seniors, Halloween is a time to delight in the sight of costumed children coming to their doors, sharing smiles and a sense of neighborhood camaraderie. Sadly, trunk-or-treats are eroding the time-honored tradition as they eliminate door-to-door visits.

Another thing to consider is most trunk-or-treats require participants to have a car and the ability to decorate it. Many elderly Idahoans don't have access to a vehicle or the faculties to engage in such activities, which further excludes them from Halloween fun. 

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Remember our senior Idahoans.

In short, well-intentioned as they are, trunk-or-treats deprive our elderly neighbors of the cherished pleasures of Halloween. We're not calling for a ban on trunk-or-treats. Instead, our hope is that you'll remember our elderly Idahoans on Halloween and holidays throughout the year. 


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