Halloween is not for the unprepared!

Halloween Advice for the Obsessive-Compulsive

Can’t be too safe! Or…um… you can, if you follow every bit of this Halloween advice from a fedfeiyhfd
suburban New York paper
, sent to us by columnist/author Naomi Schaefer Riley.

Whether you’re a ghost or zombie, vampire or witch, poor costume choices—including decorative (colored) contact lenses and flammable costumes—and face paint allergies can cause injuries that haunt you long after Halloween. [Remember, kids: Halloween isn’t fun. It’s an invitation to suffer unless you follow EVERY RULE.]

Enjoy a safe and happy [!] Halloween by following these guidelines from FDA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Wear costumes that say “flame resistant” on the label. If you make your costume, use flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon. [You may not go up in flames most days you walk around the neighborhood, but today you will.]
  • Wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape so you’ll be more visible; make sure the costumes aren’t so long that you’re in danger of tripping. [Because you wouldn’t notice that without this warning.]
  • Wear makeup and hats rather than masks that can obscure your vision. [You mean don’t wind that mummy tape over my kid’s eyes? But then it’s not authentic!]
  • Test the makeup you plan to use in advance. Put a small amount on the arm of the person who will be wearing it. If a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation develop where the makeup was applied, that’s a sign of a possible allergy.
  • Vibrantly colored makeup is popular at Halloween. Check FDA’s list of color additives to see if the colors are FDA approved. If they aren’t approved for their intended use, don’t use them. This is especially important for colored makeup around the eyes. [Yes, surely you check the FDA’s list all the time.]
  • Don’t wear decorative (colored) contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional for a proper fitting and been given instructions for how to use the lenses. [I think fake lenses are disturbing, too. But making what could be a $100 appointment with an “eye care professional” to discuss something you’re going to wear once seems a bit unlikely.]

Safe Treats

  • Eating sweet treats is also a big part of Halloween fun. [It is??? Since when?]

  • Before you or your children go trick-or-treating, remember these tips:

    • Don’t eat candy until it has been inspected at home. [Even tho no child has ever been poisoned by a neighbor’s Halloween candy.]

    • Eat a snack before heading out to avoid the temptation of nibbling on a treat before it has been inspected. [I’m sure that’ll work perfectly.]

    • In case of a food allergy, check the label to ensure the allergen isn’t present. Tell children not to accept—or eat—anything that isn’t commercially wrapped. [This is a corporate holiday!]

    • Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys from the Halloween bags. [Are children under age 3 trick or treating these days?]

      • Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious. [Perhaps use an electron scanning microscope, if you have one handy.]
    • For partygoers and party throwers, FDA recommends the following tips for two seasonal favorites:

      • Unpasteurized juices and juices that have not been further processed are at higher risk of food- borne illness. Look for the warning label to identify juice that hasn’t been pasteurized or otherwise processed, especially packaged juice products made on site. If unsure, always ask if juice has been pasteurized or not.  [Since this is a new process, not adopted by many manufacturers yet.] Normally, juice in boxes, bottles or cans from your grocer’s frozen food case, refrigerated section, or shelf has been pasteurized.

      • Before bobbing for apples—a favorite Halloween game—reduce the risk of bacteria by thoroughly rinsing the apples under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt. [You might want to also wash the apples with your laundry just to make sure they’re clean enough.]

        Read the rest of the list here!


        Halloween is not for the unprepared!




53 Responses to Halloween Advice for the Obsessive-Compulsive

  1. Amy October 25, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    Screw the FDA/CDC!

    Both my sister and I have been royally screwed by their drug rules, so quite frankly they can **** off.

  2. ebohlman October 25, 2017 at 7:35 am #

    Before bobbing for apples, use a thermometer to make sure the water temperature is below 180 degrees, since higher temperatures could cause serious burns (note: I regard the outcome of the “McDonalds Coffee Lawsuit” as completely legitimate)

  3. Dienne October 25, 2017 at 7:45 am #

    In their defense, a lot of these warnings stem from kids ending up in the emergency room (or worse) because they didn’t think about such things). Costume visibility, for instance, is very important considering how it gets dark so early these days, and with all the craziness that goes on on Halloween, people aren’t always paying as much attention as they should while driving. Not to mention, a lot of costumes are intentionally dark, which makes it very hard to see someone wearing it even if a driver is paying proper attention.

  4. Diana October 25, 2017 at 8:59 am #

    …I feel like most of this advice is non-controversial common sense? Like, I don’t know, I use public transportation and even as an adult I don’t go walking around at night in my traffic-heavy neighborhood wearing all black without some sort of reflectors, the same as basically all the other adults in my neighborhood. Why would I do anything differently for my kid? And no, I don’t give my kid unpasteurized juice, the same way I don’t feed her raw eggs or raw chicken- it’s a major source of foodborne illness. And, yes, my under-three kid goes trick or treating, the same way many other kids her age do, and yes, I take the gum and nuts and so forth out because she’s not developmentally able to eat them safely yet? Is two and three year olds trick or treating, like, a weird or rare thing? Tons of kids that age in our neighborhood do.

    Some of this stuff is clearly over the top, like checking the ingredients on the facepaint and the shout-out to the old razor blades in Halloween candy urban legend, but I’m not sure I get the snark for the common sense stuff. You can be a free-range parent and that doesn’t mean you should, like, feed your kids paint chips.

  5. Theresa Hall October 25, 2017 at 9:29 am #

    Personally I think cultural appropriation is silly. Can’t be Mona from the movie because it’s cultural appropriation. How about we share our culturals and become closer as a people.
    By treating each difference in cultural as a no go zone we just end up hating on each other. Boys and girls no matter what you want to wear as long your parents find it cool then go trick or treating in it.

  6. Melissa October 25, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    Children under 3 DO trick-or-treat, yes. I’ve taken my kiddos since they were tiny. At that age, it’s a chance for parents to see their neighbors and show off their cute toddler. The toddler learns it’s OK to approach strangers (which is a good thing!) and gets to meet their neighbors. And then when that kid is older, their new younger sibling basically gets toted along for looks while big brother/sister does the real TorT work.

    That said, any parent with a kid under 3 is/should be already well aware of the types of candy, if any, the kid is OK to eat. It’s not like Halloween is the only time of year they could choke! No, you don’t give a jawbreaker or gum to a 2-year-old. If you made it to Halloween without your toddler choking, then clearly you already know the basics of what is appropriate snack food for a small child.

  7. Brooks October 25, 2017 at 9:42 am #

    You know, it’s funny and sad to me that the FDA has a list of regulated cosmetic additives, yet there are tens of thousands of dangerous food additives and it is completely off limits. The FDA has no authority to regulate, even test them.

    As for the safety list. Ah, well, hysteria.

  8. James October 25, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    My 2-year-old is excited about going Trick-or-Treating. He also knows that candy wrappers are not tasty, and how to open common ones. I know this, because when he was 1 he got a candy cane from a Santa at the local zoo, and by the time we were outside the building Santa was in he had opened it and was merrily sucking on it. (His older brother was polite enough to ask first….)


    “You can be a free-range parent and that doesn’t mean you should, like, feed your kids paint chips.”

    No one’s saying otherwise. But most of that is egregiously over the top. The reflective strips on costumes thing? Idiotic. Drivers should know to be aware of people in dark costumes around this time of year, and people should know not to walk into traffic ANY time of year. The unpasteurized juice thing? Sure, I know enough not to give it to my kids–but if my adult friends and I want to drink unpasteurized juices, that’s our call. There’s not that much risk involved here (you mentioned eggs, which also have a minimal risk; some have salmanila, but it’s less than 1% last I checked).

    More significantly: The government has no business handing out “guidelines” for proper behavior, regardless of intent. Such guidelines always–ALWAYS–eventually end up in court as evidence that the parents are unfit. And they have a stifling effect on the community. When I was a kid some older couples made really great home-made treats for kids for Halloween. These lists robbed them of that joy, for no reason other than hysteria. Every one of these rules has done similar. At this point, many communities think Trick-or-Treat is too unsafe to even be allowed, and now we get the nonsense of “Trunk or Treat”, where kids walk around a parking lot during the day so that we can be absolutely 100% sure that nothing bad happens to them. THAT is the cost of this “advice”: the destruction of our traditions.

  9. Heather October 25, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    The “be sure you won’t trip on your costume” reminds me of lists I’ve seen for “How to do well on your SATs (or other exams).” It’ll include advice like “Be sure you get enough sleep the night before so you’re well-rested.” Well, no kidding. I’m glad someone thought to tell me that or I’d’ve stayed up all night.

  10. pentamom October 25, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    The “unpasteurized juice” thing probably refers to apple cider. Some states may still allow it to be sold, I’m not sure, but people make their own, too.

    And generally, if you don’t use apples ground-gathered from cow pastures (and people who sell it commercially don’t), it’s not a problem anyway.

  11. Theresa Hall October 25, 2017 at 10:59 am #

    I don’t mind the teal pumpkins to tell people no need to have worry about deadly allergies at their place. Some people are just plain stupid when it comes to deadly allergies but at least some people have a brain.

  12. Workshop October 25, 2017 at 11:10 am #

    My youngest decided that, as he is learning about bats in kindergarten, and bats are uber-cool, he wanted to be a bat for Halloween. So he’s got black fabric wings, a black mask, a black shirt, and black pants.

    I will check his candy afterwards, because we’ve discovered that he’s sensitive to red dye, and I’d rather not have him be crazy and tired at the same time.

    Oh, and his jack-o-lantern will be lit with a real candle.

  13. Donna October 25, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    My kid and I drink unpasteurized juice all the time. While raw juice cannot be sold via distributers, it can be sold directly to customers in many areas. The cold pressed juice you buy at juice bars, gyms and farmer’s markets is quite likely unpasteurized.

    More on topic, unpasteurized apple cider is not uncommon this time of the year. The stuff you get in the grocery store is pasteurized, but the stuff you get at the local orchard or fruit stand may not be.

    I don’t find the advice not pertaining to inspecting candy all that out of whack.

    Flame resistant material is more of a consideration on Halloween than other days because of the prevalence of flowing garb and flames on that day. I don’t know how the rest of you live, but it is pretty rare for my friends and neighbors to have lighted candles stuck in fruit sitting right by their doors when I visit the other 364 days of the year. And, even if they were inclined to be so overly dramatic on a daily basis, I’m pretty unlikely to be wearing a long flowing gown that can come in contact with the candles inside the fruit when I get there the rest of the year.

    The rest of the advice, while very common sense, is not improper. You should do all those things. You probably shouldn’t have to be told to do all those things, but some people lack common sense and need to be told basic things on a regular basis.

  14. John B. October 25, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

    When I was of trick-or-treating age back in the mid-1960s, we occasionally had neighbors who handed out apples. It was usually older people who gave out the apples. The rationale being that apples are healthy and kids eat too much candy (Yes, even back then kids ate too much candy). But some of our neighbors baked brownies for all the trick-or-treaters! To my knowledge, no kid was ever poisoned by Halloween brownies nor did any kid ever bite into a razor blade hidden in apples.

    I don’t have any kids myself so my question to all the parents of trick-or-treaters here is, do people give out cake, brownies or apples for Halloween anymore or is all of the goodies your kid receives wrapped? Now as a person who happily hands out Halloween goodies to the lucky kids who come to my door (I hand out full sized candy bars!), I always go with wrapped store-bought candy. This way, if the kid gets a tummy ache, nobody can accuse me of tampering with the cake or brownie they ate or apple they bit into! There is just too much scrutiny nowadays when it comes to adult interaction with kids.

  15. Donna October 25, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    I don’t believe my daughter has ever gotten anything trick or treating that was not wrapped store-bought candy. Maybe a pencil or something similar, but not food. The neighborhood we trick or treat in gets so many kids that it would be impossible to bake for them all.

    We did go to a house a few years ago that gave homemade mulled wine to the accompanying parents. Sadly, it was also a Halloween where the weather was more suited to the 4th of July and the hot cocktail was not as appealing as it would have been other years.

  16. Snow October 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    Bobbing for apples is just gross…all that spit and snot getting into the water! 😮 It’s almost as bad as blowing out birthday candles – YUCK!

    I don’t care for the teal pumpkin thing, just because I have had teal pumpkins because I thought they looked cool. I had no idea what they were supposed to represent and DID NOT hand out allergy free items. Now I know, but I know there are others who don’t know. It’s not a fail safe.

  17. Coccinelle October 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    This is as silly as a list of things to avoid for pregnant women. If you want to avoid any risk of getting salmonella or listeria poisoning, you’ll have to forgo any raw fruits or veggies. That’s not a nice diet at all. It would totally depress me in any case.

  18. lightbright October 25, 2017 at 1:05 pm #

    I grew up in a day when older kids on Halloween night would toilet paper maple trees and crack rotten eggs into neighbors’ mailboxes. Do the FDA and CDC have any advice on how to go about these activities safely?

  19. David N. Brown October 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    I studied the “poisoned candy” legend some time ago. From the best evidence, there were a number of pranks with razors in apples and so forth around the late ’60s that would be legally hazy by modern sensibilities. Invariably, the “victims” were older kids or teens that adults felt were abusing the custom. There’s also a non-trivial number of cases of foreign objects in candy, which probably crop up at Halloween simply because sales and consumption spike at that. All in all, it IS a good idea to inspect candy, but it’s nothing that parents and kids can’t do for themselves.

  20. Gina October 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

    THERESA: HI! Costumes of a specific character like Moana are not cultural appropriation. I agree that we should celebrate all cultures and try to bring them closer, but what we do have to be careful of is not stereotyping a culture. So if your child wants to be Moana, that’s fine, but you wouldn’t just do a “Polynesian girl”…or Pocahontas is ok, but not “an Indian/First Nation Person”.

  21. Theresa Hall October 25, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    I don’t think it is cultural appropriation but they are idiots who do think so. I think sharing our culturals will bring us closer.

  22. Donna October 25, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

    “I think sharing our culturals will bring us closer.”

    Sharing interest in and celebrations of others’ cultures bring us closer. Turning someone else’s culture into a Halloween costume does not.

  23. Backroads October 25, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    My almost two-year-old tripped last night at the church Trunk-or-Treat. Her costume came to her knees and she was wearing every day shoes. It was her first year comprehending what was going on with the cars and the neighbors and the candy and the pail we gave her, and once she got the concept was really into it. Just moved faster than she should have in the excitement. She was fine.

  24. Karon October 25, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

    As an eye care professional who has seen her fair share of contact related issues, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t use costume colored contacts.

    I saw a patient just last week who will very likely have permanent vision damage from practicing for one day with colored contacts she ordered online.

    The rest of this is pretty common sense.

  25. James October 25, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    “I don’t have any kids myself so my question to all the parents of trick-or-treaters here is, do people give out cake, brownies or apples for Halloween anymore or is all of the goodies your kid receives wrapped?”

    Always wrapped. No one wants to be the one accused of attempting to poison kids, or waste time/money making some treat that the parents will panic over and throw out.

    When I was a kid we’d get apples from some houses. I always enjoyed it–I’ve always enjoyed apples. A few houses also gave away things like popcorn balls or other quick home-made treats.


    “Sharing interest in and celebrations of others’ cultures bring us closer. Turning someone else’s culture into a Halloween costume does not.”

    So what costumes are we allowed to have? I mean, I’m not a European knight; am I allowed to dress in armor? I’m not a cowboy; am I allowed to wear that outfit? I’m not a fire-fighter or police officer (and you’d better believe they have their own culture, just like any group!); am I allowed to wear THOSE costumes?

    See how silly this gets? Once you say “You’re not allowed to dress as someone from Cultures X, Y, and Z” you allow free reign to declare ANY culture off-limits, because the line is fundamentally arbitrary. And since it’s arbitrary, it will be used (is being used) to tell people to sit down, shut up, and do as their told.

    The whole point of dressing up for Halloween is to dress up as someone or something else, and have fun. For a lot of kids, they dress as something they like–so you’re openly telling children to stifle their self-expression so that someone else–someone who is not present and who’s opinions you probably don’t actually know–doesn’t feel offended.

    If you’re worried about “cultural appropriation” with regard to a six-year-old’s costume, it’s you that has the problem, not the one in costume. (Obvious exceptions excluded, as I stated previously.)

  26. SKL October 25, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    Oh my cheese, the “cultural appropriation” discussion has invaded this site. 😛

    Here’s a thought: participating in Halloween is one great big cultural appropriation if you’re not from the original culture that created it. So what! Let’s change its name to “cultural appropriation eve” and be done with it.

    Being disrespectful about another culture is always wrong, but a little girl wanting to be Tiana or Moana or Superman for a night is not that.

  27. Robin October 25, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    Wouldn’t it be a whole lot more efficient to just ban anything that could possibly be fun? Especially since common sense seems to have totally evaporated?

  28. Donald October 25, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

    I have invented a new phrase and I hope that it catches on. Introducing pico management.

    Micro-management is management that can also resemble an annoying aspect that’s similar to reading over a person’s shoulder. Micro-management is a closer involvement style of management. Pico-management is a closer, closer, style of management.

    Micro = 10 to the negative 6. Pico = 10 to the negative 12

    Let’s all pico-manage our children’s lives so that we can keep them safe from harm.

  29. Donald October 25, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    “Oh my cheese”

    I’m offended by that. I’m lactose intolerant

  30. Steve N October 25, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    Every culture on earth has appropriated from every other culture on earth. That’s how we got where we are.

  31. lollipoplover October 25, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    We add ice cubes to the water for bobbing for apples and call it a polar plunge. Keeps it interesting!

    Two houses in our neighborhood are known and widely popular for homemade, unwrapped treats- cotton candy (made fresh outside) and the best carmel apples ever. Think she put return address stickers on the bags a few years ago…my kids open them up and eat them right in front of her- it’s their favorite house of all.

  32. Peter October 25, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

    Drivers should know to be aware of people in dark costumes around this time of year […]

    You would think. You’d also think that the idiot who maybe had one more beer than he should have at the Hallowe’en party wouldn’t be driving. But here we are. Pedestrian gets hit–“Well, they obviously should have been more visible!”

  33. Liz October 25, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    It seems to me that adults have completely forgotten the fun that Halloween was and should be, and instead have turned this holiday into nothing but getting lots of “free” candy. Everything I’ve seen about mall, town shop centers and the ridiculous “trunk or treat” promises “safety, and lots of candy.” No, it was about the fun of going around the neighborhood with your friends, making a clever costume, and the FREEDOM you always felt! Now us adults don’t seem to remember that, so we’ve twisted it into nothing but getting candy. We need to remember what it was like when we were kids.
    Side-note: Lenore, the tv show “Adam Ruins Everything” did a Halloween episode last night, and it started with the myth of tainted candy. Here’s a bit of it that they put on YouTube: https://youtu.be/OzFRwevQEB0

  34. David N. Brown October 25, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

    I had a funny experience with costumes as an adult: For a college Halloween party, I made a mask based on my own design for an futuristic combat helmet, using only paper and paper clips. When I put it on, I had just an eye slit to look thru and no idea if I was going to be able to see a thing. Somehow, it turned out I could see very well, and I even had decent peripheral vision.

  35. lollipoplover October 25, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

    @David N. Brown-
    While in college, my roommates and I had little money for costumes and decided to be *electrecuted* and burned holes in our clothes, sprayed our hair up high with Aquanet hair spray, and smudged the charred remains on our faces. When we showed up at the party, everyone thought we were in a terrible accident and asked if we were OK! Success…

  36. Donna October 25, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

    “So what costumes are we allowed to have?”

    Somehow my child has made it through 11 Halloweens turning another ethnicity into a costume and I don’t see her having to give up Halloween in the near future due to an inability to come up with an idea for a costume. Hell, I’ve made it through 47 Halloweens without turning another ethnicity into a costume. I didn’t dress up for many of those years, but I did quite a few of them. And neither of us are particularly known for our expansive imaginations. But your inability to come up with a costume that does not involve the traditional dress of another ethnicity says a lot about you.

    Halloween is at it’s heart farcical in nature. If you cannot intuitively understand why different ethnicities may not be too keen on their cultural heritage being paraded down the streets in our farcical holiday, nothing I say here is going to convince you otherwise. You can continue to dress in the traditional dress of other cultures for fun and games and I will continue to think you are wrong for doing so.

    “Being disrespectful about another culture is always wrong, but a little girl wanting to be Tiana or Moana or Superman for a night is not that.”

    It is true that wanting to be Tiana or Moana is not disrespectful to another culture. It is even true that dressing up as Tiana or Moana for Halloween is not disrespectful to another culture. I think someone already said that.

    When you are 6, wanting to be African American or a polynesian because it is something you saw in a movie and think is cool is not disrespectful to another culture. Parading down the street costumed as an African American or a polynesian – where when people ask what your costume is your answer is “a black person” or “polynesian person” as opposed to Tiana or Moana – to beg your neighbors for candy is disrespectful. The 6 year old doesn’t know this, but his/her parents do and are more than capable of saying “no” as they likely do for other costumes their kids come up with. I know my kid has wanted to buy certain costumes for Halloween and I’ve told her no for various reasons, mostly because they are too sexy for an elementary school student.

  37. Donna October 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    That should read “Somehow my child has made it through 11 Halloweens WITHOUT turning another ethnicity into a costume”

  38. Athena October 25, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    I agree with a lot of your points, but I will note a couple of things.

    – As much as anyone goes out trick-or-treating these days, there are actually under-threes going out too. Partly parents trying to recapture the nostalgia of their childhood trick-or-treating; partly because, if all trick-or-treaters need direct parental supervision anyway, why not take children too young to possibly trick-or-treat on their own?

    – The contacts thing is genuine. An ill-fitted contact lens is not like an ill-fitted piece of clothing. It’s not an inconvenience that *might* have the potential to be dangerous or injuring, its minimum starts at injurious and goes up from there, because you’re shoving something into a very sensitive part of the body. The bigger question is why people are using decorative contact lenses for children’s costumes, not why people should make sure they fit correctly first.

  39. Kirsten October 26, 2017 at 8:44 am #

    I don’t like the trend of parents taking around way too young kids for trick or treating who don’t even know what’s going on or who will have forgotten about it. Halloween used to be a night for children only, when we had the run of the night streets and there were no adults. That was the true excitement of it. Adults going around trick or treating is usurping that once a year pleasure. The notion that there are some things that are specific to certain age groups and therefore off limits to others seems have become quite unpopular. The notion that there is anywhere you shouldn’t bring your baby is considered offensive, hence the rise in parents taking their small children with them to bars and adult cocktail parties, and people being offended that their 4 year old is not invited to a wedding.

  40. Donna October 26, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

    “I don’t like the trend of parents taking around way too young kids for trick or treating who don’t even know what’s going on or who will have forgotten about it.”

    Leaving aside whether toddlers should go trick or treating or not (I don’t personally care one way or another), I don’t get this idea that we should only allow children to do things when they will remember it in later years. There are a whole host of things that I’ve taken my child to do that she thoroughly enjoyed doing in the moment, but has since forgotten because early childhood memories don’t have a lot of permanence in our memories. Major things like trips to Disneyland and New Zealand. I don’t regret taking her to do a single one despite her lack of memory of it now. Her enjoyment in the moment was enough.

  41. Ricky October 26, 2017 at 3:31 pm #

    My oldest Granddaughter was not quite 18 months for her first Halloween. She didn’t quite catch on at the first house but after getting candy again at the second house she was on a mission!

  42. James October 26, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

    Donna, we’re talking at each other, not to each other at this point.

    I think it’s okay for little kids to dress up however they want, and that busy-bodies screaming about “cultural appropriation” when this happens are frankly mentally ill. I also think that there are some things that can and should be off limits, because they were instituted as an attack on another race (see my comments on blackface).

    I genuinely have no idea what your stance is at this point. I think you disagree, because……….apparently, parents are supposed to instruct their kids that doing normal childhood activities is racist? Or something?

    You can see Halloween as inherently farcical, and read as much into my kids’ costumes as your precious little heart desires. I’m going to continue interpreting a kid dressing up as a character–of ANY race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, political leaning, etc–as nothing more than the kid declaring “I like this character”. If you find a little girl enjoying a character from another ethnicity offensive (and remember, that’s what you’re telling that little girl), that’s on you.


    “Halloween used to be a night for children only, when we had the run of the night streets and there were no adults.”

    I’ve never found that to be true, among anyone I spoke with. At best, there were two Halloween traditions: that of GETTING treats (the kids), and that of GIVING treats (older kids/parents). But adults have always been involved. Where I grew up off-duty cops would dress in costumes and meander about town, keeping childhood pranks within reasonable limits (eggs=good; cherry bombs=bad) without disrupting the festivities. There were adult-only scary rides/haunted houses/whatever, teenager-focused rides/haunted houses/whatever, and little kid stuff. It was always like that in my memory, at least, and most people I’ve discussed it with had similar experiences.

    As for the kid not remembering, they may not remember details but it builds a foundation of shared experiences. I’m reasonably certain my kids won’t remember early stages of me teaching them housework (“Hit the IRON nail, not DADDY’S nail!!!”), but that bonding time builds our relationship. Similarly, doing fun things with the kids is…well, fun. And families need that. If you don’t want to give my 2-year-old candy, that’s fine; we’ll move on to the next house. But if you saw how excited he was to be Bolder the Transformer, or saw how dressing up as Transformers is bringing him and his brother together, you’d see that this idea that only long-term memories matter is patently ridiculous.

  43. SKL October 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

    As for little kids trick-or-treating – I feel this is a good thing for the community – for neighbors to get to know each other early on. Kids don’t go play with the childless / elderly adults in the neighborhood, and only interact in unusual circumstances. So this is an opportunity to say “hi neighbor.”

    And who could dislike having a stream of cute little smiling people coming up for a piece of candy? Honestly I like them a lot more than the middle school kids who come up greedily, grunt “trickertreat” embarrassedly, and see how big of a candy grab they can get.

  44. MonicaP October 26, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

    Thank God for articles like this. Without them, I wouldn’t know what I needed to be afraid of at any given time.

  45. David N. Brown October 26, 2017 at 7:15 pm #

    @Athena: Specialty contacts were used in some of the original “Evil Dead” movies and I think some other vintage horror films, which is hard to object to since they were fitted and the actors were closely supervised. However, commentaries from the cast say it was a brutal experience, compounded by the fact they couldn’t actually see with the things. More recent movies like “Shaun of the Dead” have done eye effects w/ C G I add ins.

  46. Donna October 26, 2017 at 8:01 pm #

    James –

    You are apparently just typing out of a desire to call me mentally ill without either reading or comprehending anything written.

    As has been said repeatedly, nobody is complaining about children of any race dressing up AS A CHARACTER of any race. 6 year old wants to be Moana, a 6 year old should be Moana. Hell, I don’t even care if it is a girl or boy who wants to be Moana. If the 6 year old loved the movie Moana and wants to dress up as Moana, s/he should be able to do exactly that. All things considered, I think it somewhat odd but not particularly culturally offensive for an adult to dress up as Moana regardless of race.

    However, people taking the traditions of other ethnicities and making them costumes in and of themselves is culturally offensive. Dressing up as a geisha for example. Or wearing a burka or hijab. Or the guy I ran across yesterday who wanted to wear the sherwani he wore as a member of an Indian wedding for an office Halloween party costume to be an Indian. This is completely inappropriate whether you are an adult or child. You are not trying to pretend to be a person/character that you like. You are simply making a costume out of the traditions of another culture for your own farcical pleasure.

    We lived in American Samoa a few years ago. Us palagis (white folks) wearing the Samoan puletasi to work or school or church or wherever was not considered offensive. It was seen as a sign of respect for their culture. However, allowing our children to wear a puletasi trick or treating on Halloween so that they could be “a Samoan” would have been extremely offensive because being Samoan is not a costume. It is who they are. Wearing the puletasi and going trick or treating as “a Samoan” would have been seen as mocking their culture even if it was not intended that way. Now if my child had wanted to dress up as Troy Polamalu or the Rock (both Samoans) that would have been different and not offensive. It is no longer mocking Samoans, but just dressing up as a famous person who happens to be Samoan and no different than if she had decided to dress up as Katniss Everdeen (her actual costume this year).

    But if you cannot understand how dressing up as a specific person who just happens to be a member of another ethnicity and dressing up as that ethnicity itself are very different and the latter is pretty damn offensive to that ethnicity, there is nothing further to say this subject.

  47. Markus October 29, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

    Cultural Appropriation? In the old days we called that learning…now don’t get me wrong, if you’re doing it out of malice or with intent to denigrate…there’s a problem and that requires disciplinary action but c’mon if it weren’t for so called cultural appropriation…these complainers wouldn’t have an Internet to complain on…ok enough from the curmudgeon in the back…;-)

  48. nightredlight@gmx.com October 30, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    @Snow Um, your link. Wow.

    I never liked the term Nanny State – reeks a wee bit of sexism. The term I need should evoke an image of somebody who truly doesn’t trust you to make your own choices and know what’s best for yourself and your family. So is Greenboro a Pesky In-Law City?

  49. Papilio October 30, 2017 at 1:19 pm #

    “Her sons have flown the coop (which is lucky for ‘proof of concept’ purposes, but she misses them).”

    Aww, congrats and poor you. Time to get a pet, maybe? For some strange reason that of course has nothing whatsoever to do with the subject of this post and a certain video a couple of years back, I’ve always pictured you with a black cat…… 😉

  50. Snow October 30, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

    @nightredlight@gmx.com, it was actually Apex and Holly Springs, it just made Greensboro news. I don’t think Greensboro has any restrictions.

  51. Rob Daniels October 31, 2017 at 11:30 am #

    Let’s let the kids trick-or-treat! Enough already!

  52. James November 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm #


    “Cultural Appropriation? In the old days we called that learning…”

    Exactly!!! Every culture has aspects that are good and worthy of emulation. This includes how they dress. There’s no rational reason to restrict ourselves to only those aspects of dress that originated in our own races. The idea is racist by definition, and deprives our society of a wealth of knowledge and opportunities.

    My family is German-Irish. Mom used to make stir fry on a fairly regular basis–regular enough to buy some equipment for it, at any rate. If someone wants to call it cultural appropriation that’s on them; we called it a good dinner. There is no rational reason to treat clothing any differently.

    God help Donna if she ever discovers the SCA…..I’ve seen folks as white as me dress as samurai and in other Japanese garb. They loved the culture, and were exploring it. But with a world view dominated by racism and seeking ways to be offended, some folks would never see it that way…