Hey Kids, Have a Happy Halloween! Just Be Aware that You Could Be Grabbed, Kidnapped, Thrown into a Trunk…


Here’s a jolly little artifact that one of you photographed in a Chicago-area restaurant:


Other than screaming and fighting for your life, it should be a fun night!

Other than screaming and fighting for your life, it should be a fun night!


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40 Responses to Hey Kids, Have a Happy Halloween! Just Be Aware that You Could Be Grabbed, Kidnapped, Thrown into a Trunk…

  1. James Pollock October 27, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    It was fine, right up until that last one. Which is still good advice, if a bit… over-the-top and out-of-place.

  2. Marie Inshaw October 27, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    What’s the point of all that if the kids never leave your side anyway?

  3. bob magee October 27, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    Know your address? That implies a really young child would be out on their own – which will not happen.

    Kick, scream, etc – that implies child(ren) are trick or treating in an area completely devoid of other kids/parents/people who would witness such a thing.

    The only tips that make sense are making sure costumes not so dark that they would not be seen by a car driver – a car probably driven by some over protective parent who is driving their child from house to house.

    Look at #4 – it assumes all children are out with a parent. And how would they get separated?

    the last paragraph is the stupidest of them all. If Halloween is considered that dangerous in your neighborhood or town, well the other 364 days must be as well.

  4. Barry Lederman October 27, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    Do they realize the damage they are doing the children by ruining their lives putting them in constant anxiety?!

  5. Barry Lederman October 27, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    Here’s a link to the sign I was referring to.


    It requires reg sex offenders to post signs on their doors on Halloween.

  6. Warren October 27, 2015 at 11:55 am #

    Never did any of this. Just opened the door and told them to have a great time.

    Kids of trick or treating age tire, and when they do they head for home. That was good enough for generations, and it is still good now. As a matter of fact they always came home earlier than expected, because without someone there always telling them to slow down, be careful and yada yada yada, they had fun, spent huge amounts of energy, and tuckered out rather quickly.

    All the same tools we give them to be out and about apply to Halloween, it is no different. Look both ways, be respectful and so on. Just because it is Halloween, does not mean it is any different or more dangerous.

  7. Fiamma October 27, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    Barry, wow, just wow.
    Most kids trick or treat in groups or if young, with parents, at least here they do. So I doubt anyone would be able to snatch a child away without someone seeing.

    Is this flyer meant to help keep the triggering urges away from those on the registry or kudt out them and scare the hell out of kids?

  8. MichaelF October 27, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    Did kicking and screaming work for Hansel and Gretel?

    I think not!

    Last night my kids saw a poster for Trunk or Treat, they asked me what that was. I gave them a quick rundown on how the cars park in a lot and you go from car to car.

    The looked at me in horror, “where is the fun with that?!”

    I had no response, just said we’d never do it.

  9. James Pollock October 27, 2015 at 12:51 pm #

    “Know your address? That implies a really young child would be out on their own – which will not happen.”

    Did you miss “in case you get separated”? This implies that the really young child is not out on their own on purpose.

    “Kick, scream, etc – that implies child(ren) are trick or treating in an area completely devoid of other kids/parents/people who would witness such a thing.”

    No, it implies the opposite. Kicking and screaming do absolutely nothing to help you unless there is someone nearby to take notice of it.

    “Look at #4 – it assumes all children are out with a parent. And how would they get separated?”
    Gee, large crowds of small children, all of them disguised?

  10. James Pollock October 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    “Did kicking and screaming work for Hansel and Gretel?
    I think not!”

    They broke rule #5. They went inside.

  11. sigh October 27, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

    I couldn’t believe my Halloween last year. My partner and I took our kids, ages 8, 10 and 12, trick or treating. We accompanied them down the street and waited on the sidewalk while they rang doorbells at every house. “What are we doing here?” I kept asking. We ran into groups of kids and parents we knew. Yup, all the mid-to-late grade-school-age kids had at least one adult along, usually a 1:1 ratio.

    This, in a neighbourhood where nearly every house was lit up like a Christmas tree, community feeling abounded, and yet… parents accompanying kids trick-or-treating when the kids are 9 and up?

    When I was four or five, I was sent out with my older brother, who was 9 or 10. The older I got, the more I was with neighbour kids going around house to house. Having your parent along was decidedly a preschool thing.

    And if every parent is out on Halloween night, proving their love and care for their kids by watching their every costumed move, I guess it can only be those whose children are too old for trick or treating who can stay home and answer the door to hand out treats to others?

    I questioned other parents about this over-staffing of Halloween as I trudged along, resentful that I was out on the street instead of home enjoying my evening as the kids gathered loot. They agreed things had changed since they were kids, in terms of parents accompanying, but didn’t once say it was ridiculous that we were all there. Well I said it.

  12. Jason Harrison October 27, 2015 at 1:03 pm #


    Please tell your website technical experts:
    For some reason, I can’t see the photo on my phone (Chrome 46.0.2490.76, Android 5.0.2; SM-G920W8 Build/LRX22G, with or without “request desktop site”).

    Usually the images attached to your posts are extra, but in some cases they are most of the content. Please look into this

  13. Andy October 27, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    Can someone print what was on the sign? I never get pictures on my phone.

  14. James Pollock October 27, 2015 at 1:59 pm #


    Choose bright costumes, and have children carry flashlights or glow sticks so they are easily visible. (HINT: Try adding reflecting tape to bags and costumes.)

    Have the children learn to call 911 in an emergency.

    Plan a Trick-or-treating route in familiar neighborhoods with well-lit streets.

    Make sure children know your cell phone number and address in case you get separated. Perhaps give them a cell phone to easily reach you.

    Instruct children to shout “NO!” if someone tries to get them to go somewhere, leave with them, or to accept anything other than a treat. Teach them to try anything they can to escape, including kicking, hitting, and screaming.

  15. Jill October 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

    Suggestion 6 – Arm your children with semi-automatic weapons, in the event they are approached by a stranger. Make this a fun activity by decorating the firearms with colorful stickers. Glow-in-the-dark paint and ribbons.

    Teach them to yell. “Stop where you are, scumbag!”

  16. fred schueler October 27, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    On the other hand, there’s a restaurant near here (which has at times been beset by wild offspring of mudpuppiers) with a sign posted which reads: “Unattended children will be sold as slaves.”

  17. Reziac October 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    Barry’s link reminds me of this:


    The principle differs only in degree.

  18. Reziac October 27, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    When I was a kid, there was always someone in every neighborhood who really got into the spirit of Halloween — and dressed up as a monster and grabbed or chased the kids who came to their door. It was all in good fun; after all half the idea of Halloween is to get yourself properly terrified by something that intellectually you know is harmless, but just for today you pretend there really ARE monsters. Kids today will never know the thrill of a healthy fright and of “escaping” from that pretend “threat”… because today, =everything= is a threat and all frights are considered disastrous.

    When I was a little kid, out there trick-or-treating on my own (well, with a few kids of similar age, but no parents) I remember noticing that after a couple such frights, I was FAR more able to deal with them and no longer reacted by helplessly fleeing — and you could tell the kids who really knew the drill because sometimes they’d chase the “monster” !!

  19. bob magee October 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    James Pollack

    You are by far the most wearisome commenter I have ever read.

    Your “schtick” is to nitpick language and make points that neither clarify nor illuminate.

    Free speech is a wonderful thing. I encourage everyone to grasp that concept and chime in.


    Boorish speech is just that – boorish.

  20. Sheri Tynes October 27, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    You mean this isn’t a joke? I assumed that it was the satirical intro to a sane piece on Halloween fun.

  21. James Pollock October 27, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

    “You are by far the most wearisome commenter I have ever read.”

    Read your own writing, Bob, and bump me to second.

  22. lollipoplover October 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    They forgot “Stop, Drop, and Roll” for when their non-flame retardant costumes go up in flames and the children incinerate. Save the burning children!!!

    “Perhaps give them a cell phone to easily reach you.”
    Why on earth would I encourage them to take an expensive electronic devise that they could easily loose or distract them? It’s a few hours of getting candy! Stay off the phone, be alert and aware, and enjoy a few hours of fun.

    This reads like disaster preparedness, not basic trick-or-treating guidelines. My only tip I say to all of the kids before they go out:Stop, look, and listen for cars before entering the street. And use your manners and say “thank you” to your neighbors who give you candy. This is not a Mission Impossible assignment. It’s ringing doorbells to collect candy.

  23. lollipoplover October 27, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    Not Halloween, but Mischief Night “Safety Concern”:


    I wish this was a joke. Carding teens for egg purchases. I feel so much safer now.

  24. Emily Morris October 27, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

    Tip 1: I find those useful, practical ideas for wandering about in the dark.

    Tip 2: Sure, yes, all kids ought to know about 911. Useful number. not entirely sure of its direct connection to Halloween, but yeah, 911 for emergencies. Got it.

    Tip 3: I think part of the fun for older trick-or-treaters is doing a bit of exploring outside the totally familiar territory, but yes, there is much good to be said about being thoughtful about your area.

    Tip 4: Shouldn’t part of having kids and cell phones and addresses is that they know them? If they don’t know before Halloween, what went amiss? Why don’t they already know your phone number and their own address?

    Tip 5: Wow. Um, technically great advice but… kind of killed the mood of trick-or-treating.

    I guess… yes, these are all wise things in and of themselves, but… good grief! Take the fun out of Halloween, why don’t you?

  25. lollipoplover October 27, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    @Emily Morris

    Good grief is right!

    “Instruct children to shout “No! I DON’T WANT A TEAL PUMPKIN TOY. I WANT CANDY.
    If someone tries to get them (BOOGEYMAN) to go somewhere (HELL), Leave with them (TRUNK OR TREAT),or accept anything other than a treat (NO TOOTHBRUSHES!). Teach them to try anything they can to escape (SEX OFFENDER HOUSE!), including kicking (KARATE KID), hitting (CHUCK NORRIS), and screaming(SAVE OUR HALLOWEEN FROM THESE IDIOT WARNINGS!).”

    Makes me remember what Halloween used to be like. Good grief, I got a rock:


  26. Jason October 27, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    Mobile readers who can’t view the images might try rotating your devices to landscape.

  27. Walter Underwood October 27, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

    The Palo Alto Police Department published this wonderfully sensible safety guide for Halloween. It assumes that kids will be walking the streets and talks about how to do it safely.

    The biggest risk? Cars.


  28. Andy October 27, 2015 at 8:58 pm #

    James Pollock: Thank you.

  29. Dhewco October 27, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    One of the funnest (is that a word?), scariest houses to visit on halloween was the one that were only lit by jack o’lanterns. The lady who lived there would dress as a witch and sit in an old rocking chair handing out candy. She’d have her oldest boys (high schoolers) dress in scary costumes and jump out behind the bushes or trash cans. It gave us a thrill to visit it every halloween, even though her candy was always the cheap dollar store variety.

    There was a street light a few meters down the road, but it barely seemed to touch her yard. If parents followed this list, they’d never get to experience that fun. Of course, I wonder if she would dare nowadays. If kids focus only on well-lit, rich neighborhoods or the going around to businesses around the old courthouse square (they do this in my former small town) experiences like the woman above don’t happen. I’d feel cheated if I hadn’t have experienced the scares.

    Trunk or treat is lame. They’re usually put on by churches and not about scaring or putting the horror back in halloween. (Okay for little ones, but preteens or young teens..lame.)


  30. sexhysteria October 28, 2015 at 3:56 am #

    Over 100,000 children will disappear this year on Halloween. Some will die quickly, but they are the lucky ones. Most of the others will be trafficked for child prostitution or child pornography rings, so they would be better off dead. The few who are unfortunate enough to become survivors will spend the rest of their lives as professional victims continually reminded of their brief abduction by opportunists and profiteers in the sex abuse rescue business.

  31. Montreal Dad October 28, 2015 at 4:10 am #

    I say this is just getting back to basics…Halloween is supposed to be all about uncontrolled terror, isn’t it?

  32. BL October 28, 2015 at 5:48 am #

    “I wish this was a joke. Carding teens for egg purchases. I feel so much safer now”

    What next? ‘Not available without a prescription’?

  33. bob magee October 28, 2015 at 9:42 am #


    “Despite the extreme rarity of stranger abductions, many people believe that such a thing is likely to happen often unless hysterical measures are taken to “protect” all children from a similar fate. As I and others have pointed out, statistically the average child is 300 times more likely to die as a result of physical abuse or neglect by his own parents than be abducted by a stranger for sex. Nonetheless, the mass hysteria over rare stranger abductions makes all children indirect victims of this and similar tragedies.”

    The quote above comes from a blog written by sexhysteria.

    I am not sure why on a website dedicated to puncturing myths and…hysteria, that sexhysteria would post a comment claiming over 100,000 children will be abducted this Halloween.

    Further, to the odd message posted by sexhysteria in this thread, is that the blog appears to have some legitimately interesting posts – including a link to this very website.

    Sexhysteria is either a Jekyll/Hyde personality or has been spoofed with the message on this thread

  34. bob magee October 28, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    this from a list of cautions issued by Connecticut State Police:

    7. Only collect treats from those you know.

    So is Halloween only for those with a large social circle?

  35. James Pollock October 28, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    “I am not sure why on a website dedicated to puncturing myths and…hysteria, that sexhysteria would post a comment claiming over 100,000 children will be abducted this Halloween.”

    You need to have your humor detector serviced. It doesn’t seem to be working.

  36. Eevee October 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    To the trunk-or-treat nay-sayers, I do think such a thing has a place, particularly in rural communities. I grew up in a neighborood of 2 streets with about a football field between houses, and most of the town was like that. For me, walking that far simply wasn’t worth the exhaustion to go to the 4 houses that wishfully had candy in case someone came by. There was a subdivision in town where the houses were actually close together, I had young siblings, and my parents really didn’t want to have to tote them out past bedtime and drive across town for me to trick-or-treat. When trunk-or-treat caught on in our town, it was the greatest thing because we kids could actually do some “productive” trick-or-treating with friends, and parents let us run amok as they socialized themselves while infant siblings stayed bundled up and sleeping in cars if need be. It also meant that parents were more willing to let their younger kids go join the fun, and you got a lot more cool decorations because a car is a much smaller space than a whole yard. I feel like having trunk-or-treat just because parents are worried about their little snowflakes doing traditional trick-or-treating is something that needs to go away, but in some places and cases, it’s actually a great thing for kids who can’t otherwise trick-or-treat.

  37. Bob Magee October 28, 2015 at 12:18 pm #

    James Pollack

    Re: sexhysteria – you know what? You are right.

    (I’ll blame the late end to the WS game last night for a diminished humor detector)

    I am glad that I at least acknowledged his site has some good stuff

  38. Warren October 28, 2015 at 12:41 pm #


    That is great. What I don’t like is when parents that replace trick or treating with the trunk or treat when they don’t have to. They do it for safety. That is when I have a serious problem with that type of event.

  39. Reziac October 29, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    “Over 100,000 children will disappear this year on Halloween.”

    ….and are replaced by changelings and monsters! 😉

  40. Puzzled October 30, 2015 at 8:46 am #

    I live in a small town, and the fire department puts on an annual Halloween party. I don’t really that; I think it’s nice. What bothers me is that every year, when we talk about it at our meeting, one of the benefits that will be mentioned is “and it keeps kids safe from doing things like trick or treating.” Sigh. We go into burning buildings, but we think trick or treating is unsafe.