I’m so old I remember back when Halloween was supposed to scare the kids.
Now it’s got a lot of parents shaking in their schlocky costumes, terrified that if they let their kids go trick or treating those kids may meet a fate far worse than too many Mary Janes. (“The candy everyone wishes was something else.” That should be its slogan.)
Parents worry their kids will be abducted, of course, or seduced inside for some Satanic rite. They worry the kids will come home with a big, shiny apple and fail to notice the big, razor-sized gash in its side. Most of all, they worry about unwrapped candy – as if any killer really bent on poisoning moppets would be stupid enough not to carefully glue-gun shut his tainted Snickers.
The thing that’s really spooky about all these fears is how gullible the parents are. I spoke with Joel Best, a sociologist who has studied post-Halloween newspapers going back to the 1950s, searching for stories of kiddie crimes. As far as he can tell, no child was EVER poisoned by a stranger’s candy on Halloween. It’s an urban myth. And in fact, the evidence was so convincing to him, he never looked through his own children’s candy before he let them eat it. (Or, for that matter, before he ate it himself.)
Read almost any parenting article today and they will beg you to please, PLEASE examine those treats for tampering. Keep Poison Control’s number handy. Better still: Just take your child to a Halloween party someplace you trust and don’t let them visit the (probably insane psycho-killing) neighbors at all. The only safe kid is the one kept in a pumpkin.
Provided there’s no candle inside, of course. And that you remove child before carving.