October 31st marks a national holiday that has spawned great movies, great times, great ideas, and great controversy.  The day is labeled as Halloween – a day of ghosts and ghouls, a night when cowboys and Indians collide together with buckets and bags made for filling with sweet treats.  The holiday has seen changes because unfortunately, there is always somebody out there who has to ruin something for everyone else, but the concept stays the same.  Sometime on or around October 31st, kids go out through their neighborhoods dressed up in all types of unique and creative costumes, some store bought, some homemade.  Taking my 3 year old daughter and almost 1 year old son trick or treating this year has inspired me to write this blog about the benefits of celebrating Halloween and some suggestions I think everyone should follow when it comes to treating, tricking, and trick-or-treating.

The Biggest Danger of Halloween: Lack of Research?

Well first of all, the dangers you may have heard about Halloween aren’t as intense as you may think.  In some cases, precautions were taken just for the sake of making people feel more comfortable and bringing back the joy of the Holiday.  Take this article for example, – it explains how sex offenders were rounded up to make trick or treating safer, but focus on one key paragraph to see my point here:

“Here’s the truth: There are no documented cases where a registered sex offender abused a trick-or-treater on Halloween. The truth is that kids are most likely to be abused at home and by adults they know, not strangers — and even less so by strangers handing out mini-Milky Ways. A whopping 90 percent of child victims of sexual abuse are targeted by someone they know; nearly half of those cases involve a relative. It’s also the case that the recidivism rate among sex offenders is roughly 9 percent, according to the Department of Justice.”

This was a better safe than sorry way of going about it, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Let’s read more about another danger we’ve all probably heard about: Poisoned candy.

First of all, just this year a youtube video showed how some types of candy such as gummy bears can soak up alcohol.    A simple reaction to avoid such a danger is to simply get rid of any candies that are opened or seem tampered with (as you should do anyways).

While we are talking about alleged danger of Halloween, how about those documented candy poisonings that made mom and dad check every piece of candy with a magnifying glass and 5 days of work?  Sure, that’s an exaggeration, but so are those “documented candy poisonings”.  Take a look.

If you read the article, you’ll find out that the only documented poisonings of Halloween candy were done by the PARENTS THEMSELVES.  When Ronald Clark O’Bryan poisoned and killed his 8 year old son and attempted to poison his other 3 children, what was he trying to do?  Perhaps invoke fear into every parent to scare them away from the act of celebrating a holiday he didn’t enjoy?  Perhaps trying to make a bad name for a holiday that was against his religion?   As the case revealed, a large suspected motive was the large insurance payoff he received.

So there you have it.  Halloween is safe.

THE BENEFITS OF CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN AND TRICK-OR-TREATING!

–          First of all, Halloween opens a child’s eyes at a young age to see scary things which can help them with future fears.  Halloween can teach them to find the fun in fear and also to interact with other people.  It helps a shy kid to break out of their shell which, as a parent of a very shy kid, can be quite a task to accomplish otherwise.

–          Trick-Or-Treating opens up a new opportunity to teach children manners.  Saying “Trick-Or-Treat” and “Thank you!” at every house became a big rule of ours this year, with me warning Grace that if she doesn’t say these things to each person, and loud enough for them to hear her, that we would just go home and not get any more candy.  She quickly spoke up.  Saying “Trick-Or-Treat” is just like saying “May I please have some candy!”   It’s not just a fun little catch-phrase – or at least, doesn’t have to be!  Use the holiday to teach manners in a way that is fun for both you and your children!

–          Family time.  It’s one of the most important things in every life – to spend quality time with others – especially your family.  As a Father with two careers, there are times I spend an entire weekend away from my children.  Some fathers spend weeks or months away from their families for work, but I am not one of those fathers and the more time I spend away from my children, the less sanity I have.  Watching my kids grow is something I really enjoy and every year Halloween changes and advances for us.  It’s a parental joy to see my kids dress up and have fun!

–          Creativity! Imagination!  Dressing up can be so much fun for you and/or your children!  You can be anything you want, and so can they!  You can dress up together or let the kids have all the fun!   Go on a fun shopping trip to pick out your temporary identity or dig through your things at home and put something together!  This year, Grace was Snow White (we had a Snow White costume with a wig and all) and since we didn’t have a costume for Darren, I used my old cowboy hat and we put him in a plaid shirt and blue jeans, making him the cutest little cowboy.  Not my words there either-  Darren got tons of compliments, and Grace did too!  So next year for Halloween, let your kids make a fun costume right there at home or take them shopping and find them the perfect character to be!

So there you have it, 4 great reasons to take part in Halloween!

So go, have fun, and remember: TRICK OR TREAT!

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3 thoughts on “Halloween: Is It For You? The Truth About the Dangers and Benefits of Trick Or Treating

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