A Warning To Parents On Halloween

When I was a kid, the big Halloween scare for our parents was the possibility of razor blades or needles placed in the apples or candy given out, presumably by diabolical adults, to the small and unsuspecting trick-or-treaters going door-to-door. That this scare was based not at all on fact and in the complete absence of documented cases, did not keep this urban rumor from becoming a major preoccupation of our parents and teachers. Indeed, this myth is still alive, although modern recommendations, such as having the collected candies X-rayed by benevolent police departments, are the contemporary countermeasures providing the societal upper hand in any negotiations with the evil spirit world. However, like ghost stories told around a campfire by cub scouts, our contemporary Halloween mythology requires ever more frightening embellishments to this specious, and seemingly eternal, narrative.

Far scarier than mere needles placed in a miniature Snicker's bar (after all, what's the worst that could happen? A painful trip to the emergency room?) is the much more ominous possibility of your little trick-or-treater being snatched from a pedophile's porch and tied up in his basement to suffer unspeakable sexual tortures. Even worse, one suspects that such a monster would not let them live after sating his perverse appetites.

That this much scarier myth is no more rooted in fact than the needles and razors of old is of no significance to the ever-vigilant fear mongers who obsessively quote one another in a mad dash to grab market share on the local t.v. news or in newspapers. The truth is, the little bunny or princess-costumed youngsters are far more likely to be killed in a traffic accident while being driven by their parents to a "safe" and organized Halloween venue with police volunteers posted at the doors of the staged events to deter any desperate molesters who might sneak in, than they would be if left alone, amongst their peers, going door-to-door and chanting "trick or treat"!

At some point, we need to ask what effect all of this "long night of fright" has upon our children, ourselves, and our society. There is a cost- I am sure of it- but clearly, it has been completely overlooked as one of the actual dangers we, and our children, face.

No comments: