Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, as the cooler temperatures are a reprieve from the long, hot summer. Some might lament about shorter days, but fall nights are alleviated with the lights of coming festivities and holidays. Halloween is first, whether we like the “trick-or-treat” custom or not and is now well-established in American culture. It is popular despite longstanding controversy and fear being the holiday’s focal point.
In the previous two articles I’ve talked about tips to handle bullies, both online and in person. But how are our kids going to defend themselves on the eve of the The Day of the Dead when all their friends want to go out and have fun? The horror, right!?
Maybe Halloween is not so bad. In fact, maybe fear is not all bad. Fear is instructive. Fear and courage are closely related, and the psychology of fear is important for species survival. I think, perhaps, it’s a good idea to embrace the custom; let the kids enjoy the costumes, candy, and explore what scares them a little. But it’s important to put healthy limits on fear, because sometimes fear of something is worse than the thing itself.
It’s understandable that there are urban legends now surrounding Halloween and Trick-or-Treating. We’re supposed to be on the lookout for the “boogie-man” that waits until this occasion; this special night to wreak its havoc. Still, research suggests peoples fear of being victimized by crime is greater than their likelihood of being victims of crime. Criminologists call this phenomenon victimization paradox. So it’s not so much the stranger slipping your child the poison apple that we have to worry about as much as we need to be safe when crossing streets on this very busy evening where people will be going to parties and are distracted by the aesthetics of the celebrations. The police will be conducting increased enforcement on Halloween, but they will be focused on D.U.I.s and calming domestic disturbances.
What we can do is not add to the chaos of a hectic night by following these simple guidelines:
• Children should always be supervised while trick-or-treating.
• A house without its lights on should be avoided.
• If you have concern about areas that should be avoided, you can check this website for local crime reports – www.crimereports.com. And this website for information about sex offenders – http://icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=55662.
• Parents should check all candy at the end of the night before allowing kids eat it. Any unwrapped or questionable candy should be thrown away. Don’t risk it, it’s not worth it.
For further information about Halloween safety, I recommend you have a look at what the National Safety Council has to say – https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/autumn/halloween. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some tips and suggestion as well – https://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/index.htm
We are not having classes on Halloween, but we will have a costume contest and party instead from 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. We will serve refreshments, have games, and give prizes. All are welcome.