Halloween Cat and Kid Safety and Fun - Don't Walk the Street for Treats
Where's the Fun?
Torturers and spoil sports are becoming more creative in devising and implementing ways of ruining holidays for everyone. They rarely seem to be caught and allotted consequences, though, which is not fair the children they harm.
Trick or Treating on the streets, even in the new daylight hours required by my local suburbs, is still too dangerous, in my opinion.
Broken Glass on the Street
Last year on Beggar's Night on a street in a middle-upper-middle class neighborhood near me, all the automobiles parked along the street visiting had at least one window smashed out. Not very much was stolen from any of these vehicles, although it could have been. However, the car interiors were ravished with debris and broken glass and took quite a while to clean. Someone could have been cut badly.
Overaged Trick or Treating
Another local Halloween phenomenon irks me. Beginning about 25 years ago, some of the high school youth of our most expensive suburbs began bringing large garbage bags to Trick or Treat in the lower-income neighborhoods. They demanded that their bags be filled, physically accosting young children out of their way, and if they were not "treated' enough, they returned later to do expensive property damage to the homes and yards of people that can't afford to repair damages.
Very few were ever caught. My solution to this is to ask the local Neighborhood Watch members to stand on the Trick or Treat streets in Day-Glo orange vests with flashlights and monitor the proceedings, with police patrolling these streets during Trick or Treat. Parents that work two jobs don't always have time to take their kids Trick or Treating, so these neighborhoods need some help.
High school and college students can have their own parties - and so can adults for that matter - and can even include Trick or Treat, as in a progressive Halloween or Harvest dinner party in which the guests go from house to house of the attendees and collect candy and other treats at each one as they complete a course of Halloween/Harvest Dinner. All sorts of fun parties can be planned for this season and a few parents or other trusted adults can help supervise youth parties. A police officer or fireman may even be persuaded to drop in and say hello, check out the scene, and compare uniforms with party-goers dressed the same.
Some middle schools and high schools have Halloween dances to replace street activities. I'm not sure what an age limit for Trick or Treat should be, but I'm fairly sure that Trick-or-Treaters should not be driving to other neighborhoods in their own cars.
We can find news stories of sabotaged candy applies, candy, and cakes back to the 1970s and perhaps earlier - broken glass, pins, razor blades. This was all pretty twisted. airports began to allow families to bring in their Trick or Treat bags for x-raying through luggage examining equipment. Halloween was no fun anymore for kids or the parents that worried about all the vandalism and physical attacks.
Children cry about not being permitted to Trick or Treat, but this year, I saw Halloween candy marked down by 30 - 50% during the second weekend of October. People here are not handing out candy much anymore and children and families are more frequently attending neighborhood Trick or Treat parties in community centers and apartment club houses. the potential dangers of street activities became to much to contain in many neighborhoods.
The safest solution might be to buy some candy for the family and cut out all street activities, especially for young children. Happily, many cities and towns, neighborhoods, daycare centers, schools, and even grocery stores offer structured Trick or Treat with other activities to entertain children and adults for two hours on Beggars Night. I know some single folks that go to the grocery store during in-store parties to have a bit of wholesome fun as well. No one gets hurt.
Hello-meow. Is this the party?
Trick or Treating for candy on the streets can be fun, but here are a number of other fun and safe places to go for Halloween and Harvest Parties. We have included some other fun ideas for parties and other activities Be careful on the streets -- there are monsters out there!
Structured, Fun Community Parties
Hilliard OH is home to the Franklin County Fairgrounds, where an annual Halloween and Harvest Festival Party is held for the residents and their guests. People can dress up or not and have a good time with music, games, refreshments, and seasonal candy. They can call it Halloween or they can call it Harvest. It lasts a couple of hours, is well supervised without over-control and the attendees are safe. The police and sheriff's department patrol the grounds and perimeter. It's a comfortable place to go for Halloween or Harvest Festival.
Some churches hold a Harvest Ball in place of Halloween and everyone can come as their favorite character from history, cartoons, films, literature, or Bible Stories and other media. There's plenty of candy to take the place of walking the streets for treats. Sometimes the church will show a film for entertainment, even a horror film if not too gorey.
One mega-church here held an indoor Halloween party last year that they called Neewollah (reversed the holiday). It included several activities and encouraged families to bring their children and friends in costumes, as long as they were not devils and serial killers. In fact, church leaders suggested the kids dress up as political candidates and office holders, if they could not come up with a costume. The party had a lot of little Sarah Palins attend, along with a few supreme court justices, some famous attorneys, a governor, and the like. There were the usual princesses, film stars, and knights as well. Costume contests were held and adults created some unique outfits as well. Attendees all seemed to have fun and were safe.
Previously, the same church had held a Halloween horror play with indoor fireworks. It portrayed some scenarios in which poor choices can play havoc with one's life. To the extreme, it also portrayed Adolph Hitler roasting in his own Holocaust oven. The entirety was effective, but the party was less expensive, happier, and more apt to draw a crowd.
Grocery Store Parties
Kroger grocery stores in Michigan and parts of Ohio and other states hold their own Halloween Parties in the stores on October 30 every year. Check Kroger.com and your local stores for information in your neighborhood.
The party is open to children of all ages, with games, contests, and Trick or Treating in every department of the supermarket, all in safety. Some people criticize this event as an exploitation of children by a large company, but I don't think so. The Kroger stores are decorated for the season, while managers and crew people dress in costumes. And nobody gets hurt or eats a poisoned apple!
Groceries throw all types of promotions and contests weekly, so a Halloween blast once a year is no bigger exploitation than offering loss leaders (milk for $1.50 a gallon, cheese for $2.00/pound) to draw shoppers into the store every day.
© 2010 Patty Inglish MS