This letter is to assure Ann Cannon that Halloween is not disappearing from America at all. On the contrary, Halloween has become such a part of daily life for our children there is no longer any reason to celebrate it once a year.
For example, Ann says that the first "true meaning" of Halloween is to get free candy from your neighbors. In the old days, that was a treat. Now, however, candy companies have such a strong hold on people's addictions that kids are guaranteed free candy on New Year's, Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving and for two months before Christmas, not to mention birthdays, athletic events and every other social function.
Ann's second "true meaning" of Halloween is to scare people and to relish "knife through the head" blood and gore for a day. Heck, all kids have to do for that is go home and turn on the TV or play a computer game.
I would have added a third "true meaning" of my own for Halloween: the opportunity to dress up and be someone else for an evening. Sadly, even this special aspect of Halloween has become pedestrian for our children. Go to your nearest junior high and step inside. There you'll see girls wearing practically nothing in an attempt to look like their favorite pop singer.