We’ve reached the time once again; boils and ghouls where we rummage through the back of our closets to get out our Halloween decorations we’ve been waiting all year for. Time to get out all the cobwebs, buckets of blood, random props and body parts from past Halloween costumes and make your house look as though murder was for dinner every night. It’s also a time for some people to get out their boxes of holiday safety supplies. Their reflective spray paint and tape and extra bright flashlights. Their trick-r-treat candy analysis kit along with their maps and locations of designated safety zones to herd their kids into. Now nobody can blame a parent for being even overly cautious when it comes to their child’s safety. But at what point do you just kill the entire spirit of Halloween and completely take the piss out of everything that it stands for?
Halloween is meant to be scary in a traditional sense of dressing in costume to scare away evil spirits as well as honoring the dead. It has evolved in various ways with each country having their own particular traditions that they hold true. America’s approach to Halloween throughout time naturally has been to commercialize it to death and exploit it as much as possible for profit like every other holiday. The most profitable aspect of this holiday is none other than the delicious, poisonous bars and pieces of goodness, candy. In 2016 America spent a record of $8.4 billion dollars on candy and it is expected to be at least $9.1 billion dollars this year. That’s a lot of sugar. That’s also a lot of candy that super creeps out there are going to have to go through and lace them with drugs, razor blades, and hypodermic needles. Hell, they may even figure out a way to inject the HIV virus in there with today’s technology.
Every year since I was a child there have always been stories and news reports every year warning parents about the dangers of tainted Halloween candy. For the most part, a lot of these reports are hoaxes, and very rarely are they ever true. This year before October even hit, there were several stories on the internet in regards to ecstasy being a concern of floating around in this year’s bounty of candy. I don’t understand this. Not only are there reports from the poisonous candy underground, but the idea that there are people actually wasting their drugs and money on trying to harm children? From a person that has seen the drug culture from various perspectives in life, I think not. The cost of candy alone to supply a neighborhood full of children is costly enough let alone paying whatever your local street price is for all the drugs you would include. Not to mention, if you were to have a copious amount of drugs of that caliber you’d more than likely be looking to turn a profit, or have a good time, as opposed to randomly harming kids.
The paranoia evolves though from not just trusting the candy but not trusting your fellow neighbor as well. Being a holiday of spontaneity and mischief has been transformed into an event of structure and good behavior. Many church communities and organizations have created the “trunk-r-treat” trend where selected individuals gather in a parking lot and just pass out candy via their trunk. There have also been trends of organizing trick-r-treating through hotels. I see what they’re doing here but what kind of message are we really sending now to children in the realm of safety? There were the classic rules of “don’t go in a stranger’s house, only go to houses with lights on, have your parents follow you in their cars”, and several other stranger danger guidelines. But to give the idea that people in hotels and in parking lots with open trunks of candy are always a good thing is completely ridiculous. It instills the idea that potentially all hotel rooms and trunks are full of candy and if one were to randomly offer candy no matter what time of year, it’s just like Halloween! These types of events are more for the parents than they are the children. If you wanted to live the sheltered boy/girl scout maybe it is the thing for you but based upon what the holiday is all about this is just another way of dumbing down a culture of traditions based around the opposite of structure.
A parents concern for their child’s safety is no laughing matter and is always taken seriously. The overabundance of safety tips and things parent’s worry about become over the top just because of stories and fables produces through other parents and the news. Kids can’t go out and pick a costume of their choosing because the materials they are made of aren’t up to standards or there aren’t enough reflective elements on it so that your Grim Reaper costumes shines like a glow worm. How many memories are potentially soiled due to a kid just not having that one day of the year to let loose and collect their candy and be the monster they have been waiting to transform into all year? I’m not of the mind that it should be like The Purge and it should be chaos on every screen because I too have to clean up toilet paper and eggs. It’s a part of the process. What is also a part of the process is being a responsible parent. Yes, check your kid’s candy and make sure they’re going to a decent neighborhood. Drive around with them and continue to remind them to look both ways. Continue to indulge in the traditions of Halloween and not turn it into an event that’s based on your time and concerns and fears. Halloween is for everyone no matter what age you are and it’s not going to be fun for anyone much longer if we’re teaching our kids to be scared of that one day of the year for all the wrong reasons.