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 to safety reasons. Times and restrictions should be determined by street blocks.

Yup, the town is officially sticking its fingers in its ears and going, “LA LA LA LA LA!” at the mere mention of trick or treating. It’s just too horrifying for the town elders to contemplate, I guess. Better the kids should miss the holiday than have those folks shuddering all day.

Yesterday I was interviewed on a radio show ( KIRO in Seattle) and the host, John Curley, asked me to predict what Halloween will look like in 10 years. I said something like, “There will be no costumes, because if they’re too tight they can choke a kid, but too loose they could trip, and if they’re too scary, some kids can’t handle it. And there won’t be props,  because those could trip or hurt a kid, and naturally no trick or treating, because that’s just asking for trouble, and no candy would be given out anyway, because of the obesity epidemic. And at the community center parties they won’t have any games, because those are covered with germs and also, sometimes a kid may lose, and that’s bad for their self-esteem, and while the adults COULD hand out fully-wrapped, X-rayed treats, kids might be allergic,  so everyone will just give out erasers — provided those are large enough not to present a choking hazard.”

And I present to you the town of Frederick as the cutting edge of what we are up against. THAT is scary. — L.

UPDATE: In the comments below, some of you were wishing we could come up with a cute catchphrase for Halloween. How about this, for would-be worrywarts and naysayers: LET’S KEEP THE “ALLOW” IN HALLOWEEN! — L

Trick or Treat or Track Your Kid?

Hi Readers! Trick or treat or track? Those are the three Halloween options this year, according to this piece in the Orlando Sentinel, thanks to an app that allows parents to track their kids as they go trick or treating (or as they go anywhere,  any day. It’s not like the app only works on Oct. 31.)

According to Trick or Tracker’s website, the app “enables responsible parents to know the exact whereabouts of their trick-or-treating kids…”

So I guess it’s only IRRESPONSIBLE parents who allow their kids to go around the neighborhood without the equivalent of an electronic parole bracelet, eh? Now it’s nuts to trust our kids and our communities?

The company presents the app as a lifesaver…for parents who would otherwise trail their kids in a car, and thus end up “risking the lives of others that may stray into their paths, as they are distracted by the task of diligently watching their children from the car window.”

The idea that maybe kids can trick or treat on their own without their parents diligently watching in person or on a screen must seem hopelessly outdated to some. And yet, I vote for it. Why?

Because a lot of kids today rarely walk around their neighborhood at all. Only about one in ten walks to school.  Halloween night is the perfect time to break the ice, since a whole lot of kids are out. And, as I reported last year, professors who pored over sex crime stats found Halloween to be one of the safest days of the year. It’s also a night time holiday — at least when kids get a little older — and a kid who goes out without a parent at night is a kid who walks a little taller the next day.

Yes, walk your young kids around the neighborhood (or have an older kid do it). But when they get to the age that you went trick or treating without your parents, let your kids have that same empowering, en-candying experience. Tricks? Yes. Treats? Yes. Tracking? Boo. –L.