Editorial for October 23
When I was a kid in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Halloween was a big deal. Picking a costume could take weeks. Then, there were special decorations on the streets, haunted houses, church parties, a costume parade at school, and most important of all, trick-or-treating. The neighborhood kids would all go together, with a parent when we were little, and with a high school neighbor when we got bigger. As soon as it started getting dark, we would run from house to house, knocking on doors and shouting “trick-or-treat!” to get some goodies in our slowly filling bags. When the bags were full and our feet too sore to go on, we’d rush home to dump our bags on the floor, sort the good stuff, compare and trade and, eat the candy. This should sound familiar to almost anyone who grew up in America in the late twentieth century, and as a result Halloween has become perhaps the second biggest Holiday of the year.
My account of trick-or-treating in the 1950s and 1960s suggests, it was not always about how much candy you got, but who gave out the best stuff. It was a fun time when we would get with friends and roam the streets in search of the best treats. It was also a time for other fun if you know what I mean. A few pranks were definitely played, although mostly just fun and nothing serious.
Times have changed from those days. Halloween is still a time of great excitement for our children, however that excitement often brings dangers which we can mostly control by taking some simple precautions. Younger children should always trick-or-treat with a trusted and responsible adult. Stay in well lit areas and well known neighborhoods. Use flashlights and glow sticks, avoid high traffic areas, and wear reflective costumes.
Remember to always check your candy and eat only factory wrapped treats. If you are driving slow down and be cautious in residential neighborhoods while taking extra time at intersections where children may be present.
If your’re handing out treats consider purchasing non-food items like schools supplies or coloring books and crayons. Keep your home as safe as possible for visiting trick-or-treaters, check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs. Leaves should be swept from sidewalks and steps. Restrain pets so they don’t inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater. It’s all about children having fun. We can all do our part to make sure that the fun doesn’t give way to tragedy. Let’s not have any real nightmares this Halloween.