I know it's days after Halloween, therefore it's pretty late to be complaining. But I saw a few things while out trick-or-treating that were more disturbing than any ghost or goblin, and they're still stuck in my craw.

In short, people's enthusiasm for Halloween seems to be waning. In fact, the whole nature of the holiday has changed.

Back in my day, when adults gave trick-or-treaters whiskey and cigarettes, there might have been one mom or dad in your trick-or-treating party. Maybe.

Now everybody's parents go -- which is fine, as long as they hang back enough to let the kids have their fun. The parents are having their fun, too -- wine bottles seem to be a popular part of adult costumes these day.

But I saw something Wednesday night that I still can't quite believe: A shiny black BMW ferrying children from house to house.

That's right. Apparently some kids can't even be bothered to walk anymore.

That said, it seems that more walking than ever is needed to get that bag full of candy because, as the years go by, fewer households are partaking in the Halloween spirit. The ratio of homes with welcoming porch lights and people actively answering the front door, candy bowl in hand, to the number of homes not offering treats seemed down to about one in every three or four.

In a couple of cases, people actually answered their doors only to turn the kids down flat. C'mon, people. It's Halloween, and someone's knocking on your door at 7:30 p.m. It's obviously not the cable guy, so grab something for the kiddies. Even if it's a can of soup or a pencil or something.

When I lived in downtown L.A. in my 20s, my roommates and I never saw any kids in our building. So we assumed on Halloween that no one would be knocking on the door. When the kids materialized, we had to scramble. Some kids got Top Ramen. Some got potatoes. One might've received guitar strings. We weren't ready, but we knew we had to deliver something because, after all, it was Halloween.

Conversely, a guy in his 20s last year answered his door and actually had the nerve to tell my kids, "Sorry, I don't have anything for you. But your costumes look great."

I almost came back later with some eggs to demonstrate the whole "trick" part of "trick or treat."

There's no law that says you have to go along with Halloween. When I was growing up, there was a family on my street who didn't participate in Halloween on religious grounds. They left the porch light off, and we knew not to bother them.

But they were the lone exception back then.

So what's happening to Halloween? It's obviously doing well some places, or we wouldn't have Spirit stores popping up every September in every vacant storefront in existence. But it seems like no one is on the fence: either you like getting dressed up, decorating the yard, and hitting the sidewalks come sundown on Oct. 31, or you ignore the whole thing, like the Halloween equivalent of Scrooge, which isn't very fun.

The world is busy. Everybody's moving faster than ever, when we're not parked in front of a computer or gazing at our phones. But there should always be just a little time to share the holidays with family and your neighbors.

For those households that didn't have a bowl of candy ready on Halloween, maybe I'll bring my kids back on Thanksgiving. I bet they've got some turkey to spare.

Contact Tony Hicks at thicks@bayareanewsgroup.com or at Facebook.com/bayareanewsgroup.tonyhicks.