UPDATE: Um…Can a Town Actually “Not Sanction” Halloween?

Hi Folks — Okay, this is a day late, but too shocking to ignore. Go to this page of local listings of Halloween activities and check out what it says under “Frederick,” a Maryland suburb just north of D.C. Aw, heck, here —  I’ll excerpt it for you: The City of Frederick does not sanction Halloween due […]

Halloween: The Day We Test-Market New Parental Fears

Hi Readers! Here’s my Wall Street Journal column from last year, slightly edited, about today’s holiday. Boo! — L STRANGER-DANGER AND THE DECLINE OF HALLOWEEN, by Me! Halloween is the day when America market-tests parental paranoia. If a new fear flies on Halloween, it’s probably going to catch on the rest of the year, too. […]

Occupy Halloween! Hand Out HOMEMADE Treats This Year!

Hi Readers — It occurs to me that maybe the best way to fight Halloween paranoia is with cookies. Start with the fact that there has NEVER been a case of children poisoned by a stranger’s candy on Halloween. That’s according to University of Delaware sociologist Joel Best, who has studied the urban myth since […]

Making Up Halloween Fears

Hi Readers! Sometimes I think that in our uber-safe society, poor scribes are locked in a room and told they can’t come out until they dream up some new worry — no matter how far-fetched — to caution folks about. (My current fave is the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s apple bobbing cautions, below.) That’s […]

Halloween Follow-Up — by YOU

Hi Readers! I’ve been behind in my emails and just found this cool idea. Comes from a gal named Catherine. Let’s do it! Dear Free-Range Kids: How about a post-Halloween column where you challenge your readers to scan their local news and post ANY violent incidents that happened at Halloween? I just scanned my local news […]

Amazing Halloween Horror Story!

Hi Readers — Read it and creep:  This fantastic article from The American Spectator is about how Manchester, New Hampshire, imposed a law, on the books for decades, making Halloween officially the Sunday afternoon BEFORE Oct. 31. The law was, of course, in reaction to all the usual Halloween fears — razors, poison, torture — […]

Halloween: A Test Market for Parental Paranoia

Hi Folks! Here’s my Wall Street Journal column from today. Hope the link still works! (Sometimes the Journal only allows the first few graphs for free. Guess we’ll see!) Happy Halloween almost! L. P.S. I am off to Portland, Ore., to give a lecture, so I’ll be a bit out of pocket. Meantime, I just […]

Outrage of the Week: Today Show’s Crazy Halloween Advice

Readers — It is time to howl at the moon, or, better yet, NBC. Its Today Show “panel of experts” declared to the world the precise age at which parents can safely let their children start trick or treating without an older chaperon: 13. That’s right. Exactly the age when kids start thinking about whether […]

To See Where Childhood Is Headed, Look at Halloween

Hi Readers! You’ve seen some of the facts here before — like the fact no child has EVER been poisoned by a stranger’s candy, as far as university research can tell — but if you need a little Halloween pep talk, here it is, on Huffington Post. My main point? If you want to see where […]

Halloween: Too Scary for Kids?

Hi Readers — and BOO! Oh my God! Sorry! I hope your kids weren’t reading over your shoulder! I didn’t mean to scare the little dears — it could traumatize them for life! Imagine the psychiatric bills — or years in the insane asylum! That’s the way we’re supposed to think of kids now: Too […]