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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The kids got dressed up, just like always, before the Killer Halloween of 2013. They went out into a bit of a stiff wind. I stayed behind to pass out candy.
The calendar said Halloween in Louisville on Thursday, but nobody really knew what was going on.
The list of towns and townships in Louisville, Southern Indiana and surrounding areas that modified their Trick-or-Treat plans was so complicated that it would've been better for the governors to just come out and tell people to go buy their own candy at Walmart and be done with it.
Which, for all intents and purposes, we did. There were maybe three dozen trick-or-treaters at my home. They all came the old-fashioned way -- walking with their parents. Some of them were wet. I figured it would be a light night, so I rewarded them extra. No need in keeping candy. There was one little girl in what looked like an octopus outfit. She couldn't have been more than two years old.
I felt like the guy in the commercial. "Are you competing for cutest kid right now?"
I'm here to tell you, if that little girl could trick-or-treat, anybody could get out in it.
Here's what happened to my kids and their friends.
They got wet. Some called it a night early and came back to the house after a half hour or so. This group, I will call "those born with sense enough to come in out of the rain." Among them was my son Jack, a kid with peanut allergies, whose final stack of candy he could (or would) eat was smaller than the stack he had to toss to others.
That's what others are for. They chimed in to give him this or that if he wanted. He didn't. He just seemed happy to be there, after being less-than enthusiastic about embarking on this kind of deal at age 12 with a bunch of mostly younger kids and a few teenage girls.
My 15-year-old daughter and two of her friends, along with my 9-year-old son, came rolling back in sometime after that, about an hour into the trick-or-treat adventure. They were all soaked.
And they didn't care.
I'm not sure, but I suspect years from now they'll remember this Halloween as much as any they've ever had.
"Do you remember the year we got so wet?"
"Do you remember the year the world was supposed to end and nobody went trick or treating?"
Everybody, it seems, is disgruntled this Halloween.
Or, I should say, was disgruntled. Halloween has come and gone. It's all over now but the crying, and the trick-or-treating for those towns that still have it on the schedule.
For better or worse, it seems, there are plenty of both.
I got home from my TV news duties and didn't have a costume. My youngest son asked me what I was going to dress up as. I told him, "I'm wearing the scariest costume of all -- TV weatherman."
There were some bent-out-of-shape people at the local news media, particularly the weather divisions. A lot of the input I can't print, but here's one from the WDRB News Facebook page that pretty well sums it up: "You people should be ashamed of yourselves for posting neighborhoods who are postponing Halloween just because you received some phone calls."
Others were angry that the weather divisions pointed out early the potential for severe weather Thursday night.
Of course, there was severe weather Thursday night. There was high wind, and in Louisville 10,000 people were without power. There were thunderstorm warnings. There was a tornado watch. Most of it happened after the prime trick-or-treating hours, but there was rain throughout.
It should go without saying that the weather divisions are simply doing their jobs, and not just for people in the city of Louisville, but in outlying areas for as far as the station's broadcast signal or cable footprint reaches. It can be a broad spectrum of time and conditions.
In response to early reports, towns began to change their Halloween plans. I'm not sure how that got started, and I'm not sure of the wisdom of it. But they did, and then others joined in, all of them alerting the media. We reported all these adjustments. As everyone did.
What you wound up with was a situation where a great many people in the public did not know quite what was going on.
The malls, apparently, became madhouses -- confirming my own long-held belief: Nothing good can come from going to a mall. I know, before you write me, it's tough with younger kids. Believe it or not, all mine were once younger. I do feel for you. Sometimes, in fact, with kids so little, it's more about the parents than the kids. But that's a separate issue.
Finally, there were more than a few people angry with Louisville mayor Greg Fischer. Why, I can't really fathom. Halloween, officially, to the city of Louisville, is just another day. It is not the city's job to regulate it, nor to have anything to do with how anyone takes part in the tradition of trick-or-treating. I'd say that would be a good rule of thumb for most municipalities.
You want to get mad at government that we don't have better public transit or the that the schools are a mess or a host of other things, have at it. But Halloween?
I get it. When you have kids, the last thing in the world you want is to have them look forward to something, and then be disappointed. So you try to avoid that.
But this isn't exactly a news flash -- you can't avoid it. Nor should we, as parents.
Fortunately we are still blessed, I think, in this country, that we have the freedom to look out the door on Halloween night, check the weather, make sure it's safe, then head out with the kids. And, if we get wet here or there, we deal with it. And we have the freedom, if the candy yield isn't quite what it usually has been, not to worry too much about it. How much do we really need? We can find some friends and hang out and laugh and get on as big a sugar buzz as our efforts have allowed.
I can only say, as parents, it is not the job of anyone else to make sure that our kids have good experiences -- even if they're not always exactly the ones we planned. Not the mayor. Not the weatherman. Not the malls nor media nor any government entity. It is ours alone. The sooner we accept that, the better off all of us, and all of our kids, will be. Somehow this Halloween, some of that was lost, whether through too much government intervention, or not enough, I'll let others hash out. You can blame the weather all you want. It doesn't do any good. You could blame meteorologists -- but they merely predicted storms that, sure enough, came. Sometimes there isn't always a good person to blame. Sometimes, frankly, it just rains, and we have to make the best of it.
I hope everyone is able to have a good Halloween, whether it is already in the books, or will be tonight, or whenever the door-to-doors end.
Maybe this year will be a good lesson for everybody. We can't stop the rain from hitting the parade. We can keep our own clouds from ruining it.