I wrote this piece a year ago for Motif Magazine, so the Ebola reference is no longer timely. Everything else applies though. Hope it gives you a good laugh…
Halloween is the time of year when it’s fun to be scared. On this year’s quest for all things terrifying, I stumbled across The Halloween Safety Guide. I don’t live in a town tormented by Michael Meyers so I never felt that Halloween was so dangerous it needed its own safety guide. Was I missing something? I had to find out.
What a scream! The Halloween Safety Guide did not disappoint. There’s more fear mongering here than the news coverage of the Ebola virus. Here are some of the invaluable tips this site offers to parents of trick-or-treaters:
- Check for local sex offenders and make sure your kids stay away from their houses. Technically every home sort of reeks of pedophilia on Halloween – all those grown-ups luring children to their front doors with the promise of candy. The good news: there is no correlation between Halloween and increased incidents of child abduction. Perhaps it’s because kids travel in small packs and often dress as ghouls or adults, making them unappealing prey for your average child molester. Just a guess…
- Know the route your child will take and make then check in with you every hour by phone, or by stopping back at home. Seriously? What over-sugared tween is going to break up their trick or treating route to return home for an hourly check-in? Wouldn’t it be easier if parents just turned on the GPS on the kids’ phone and followed them electronically? Better yet, can’t they just get some helicopter-parent drones to monitor them from the air?
- Trick or treating ain’t what it used to be so don’t let those kids go off on their own. What did trick or treating “used to be?” In my day, the threat of razor blades was so prevalent that no child dare eat an unwrapped treat. One friend just told me that her mother was so paranoid about razor blades that she took her Halloween candy to the hospital where they offered free x-rays to ensure the candy’s safety. What a great use of hospital resources for what we now know is a dubious threat. With crime rates at their lowest, razor blade scares debunked, and every kid over the age of ten carrying a cell phone, trick or treating sure seems safer than it used to be.
- Help your young child pick out or make a safe, flame-retardant costume. Sorry dear, you can’t be Elsa this year because her gown is too billowy and it’s not flame retardant. Yeah, good luck with the one.
- Make sure your children know that, if they commit vandalism, they’ll have to clean up their mess. This is a very useful tip, because so many children will come home and tell their parents they’ve just egged someone’s house.
- Halloween is prime time for sick individuals to harm cats so be sure to remind your kids that this is not acceptable behavior! This is my personal favorite. People, if your child is intentionally harming small animals, you need to go to a different website; one that offers advice from the parents of Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy.
- Give your kids a large, filling meal before they go out so they don’t stuff themselves silly with candy. Children are like dogs when it comes to junk food. Being full will not stop them from eating candy; it will merely ensure that they will throw-up said candy. Besides, isn’t overindulging in sweets a Halloween rite of passage?
- Finally, and most importantly, show your kids how to safely cross the street. This is probably the most (only?) useful tip since car accidents are a child’s biggest Halloween threat. However, what parent hasn’t already shown their kids how to safely cross a street? Give us some credit! Even those of us who clicked on this site purely for comic relief are up to speed on the dangers of crossing a street without looking both ways.
See? Who needs zombie make-up and chainsaws to scare you on Halloween when you have sites like this doing a great job of inciting fear? I’ll keep refreshing the link to see if they’ve added tips to avoid Ebola. In the meantime, take heed that most Halloween injuries are sports-related, and I don’t predict any parent will keep their kids home from that late October football game.