by Brent HoveyReporterHappy Halloween, all! I hope everyone got their tricks and/or treats, or at least will later today (Oct. 31).I love Halloween -- a time to dress up, act silly and just have some good old-fashioned mischievous fun.I still carve pumpkins, I still dress up, and if I could get away with it, I'd still go trick-or-treating. I don't really like candy, but dressing up for it is fun to do.A few years ago before my brother moved away and I was at college -- and my sister was heading to college the next year -- my mom still took us to a pumpkin farm to pick out our soon-to-be jack-o-laterns.One year she had us carve plastic pumpkins, but we liked carving real ones more, so we're still doing that.This year, my girlfriend -- her second year doing the carving with us -- and my brother's girlfriend joined the carving crew. We had a contest who could carve the best one. Last year, my dad was the judge, but the results didn't sit well, so we brought in new ones.We took pictures of the pumpkins and sent them to Australia, where our cousin and her husband lives and our grandparents are visiting them. ALTHOUGH the results weren't in as of this writing, I think it's safe to say I'd win -- or at least finish no worse than fourth.Yeah, pumpkin carving is a little kiddish, but it's fun, and it's what Halloween is all about -- acting like a kid.But something I read in the Record- Courier on Oct. 23 troubled me. A story reported how many schools in Portage County are doing away with observing Halloween. I called around to the Aurora Schools and realized they don't celebrate Halloween either. They called their parties Fall Festivals.Halloween was always one of the best days of the year in elementary and middle school for me. I couldn't imagine going to school Oct. 31 without wearing a costume.The story called "The death of Halloween" said schools are switching from Halloween parties to more harvest/fall theme decorations and parties.No one interviewed really gave a reason why the switch has been made. And one quote really bothered me, when a school secretary asked the reporter, "Does anyone still celebrate Halloween?"Does anyone still celebrate Halloween???!!! When did people stop celebrating it? This blows my mind. In elementary school, it was fun to compete for the best costume prize. The parade around the halls to see everyone else's costumes was second only to the candy given out by teachers.At my middle school, there was a big costume contest. The best costume winner in three categories made it to the finals in front of the whole school.In sixth grade, as the Phantom of the Opera, I made it to the finals, but lost.IN SEVENTH grade, as a female cheerleader, I again made it to the finals. I did a cheer and had the students chant my name. I thought my cheer was good enough to win, but again I fell short.In eighth grade -- my final chance -- I entered the duo-trio group. We went as the Three Stooges. After being so close for the preceding two years, I won the contest.We were rewarded the following week with lunch at Pizza Hut. There was nothing more fun to a middle school student than getting out of school and riding in a limo to Pizza Hut.I can't imagine my school days without those Halloween parties. I'd guess some of the schools switched to fall festivals because of what Halloween used to mean. Some people might think it's a pagan holiday. I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. When kids put on costumes such as a bumble bee, princess or pumpkin, they aren't thinking about anything other than looking cute and having fun.Even the kids who dress up as a witch, vampire or devil don't think of any meaning behind it other than getting as much candy as they can.Halloween is a perfect time for kids to be kids. It's even a perfect time for adults to be kids.Again, happy Halloween!E-mail: bhovey@recordpub.comPhone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3115