52 Responses to Lenore Prepares for Halloween — Heh, Heh, Heh

  1. Miriam October 30, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    I know, I know!! Let’s ban driving on Halloween!! Then no kids will have to “watch out”. Heh heh heh!!! Happy Halloween everybody!!!! Used to be my favorite holiday.

  2. Doug October 30, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    Too many facts Lenora, you must be one of those wild eyed fringe crazies.

    “Trunk or treat”, all I can do is shake my head in sadness. Perpetual fear is no way to live your life and not a good thing to instill in your children.

  3. Lola October 30, 2014 at 9:37 am #

    My 8yo is considering dressing up as a teacher, and frighten all his friends by sending them homework and surprise tests. Maybe he should take it one more step, and roam the neighbourhood as an IRS inspector; I bet he would give nightmares to more than one adult!

  4. Warren October 30, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    Port Hope, Ont. did it right. All the cops and volunteer firefighters not on duty went trick or treating with their kids and groups of kids. They all carried concealed walkies.
    Not for sex offenders, poison candy or any other myths.

    According to these volunteers about 1% of their walkie use was for lost kid or injured kid. The other 99% was calling in to on duty cops about traffic violations. They had a zero tolerance attitude on Halloween.

    This allowed the kids to have a great and free time on Halloween.

  5. billy October 30, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    LOL, Lenore you’re awesome…I laughed my pumpkin off as I watched this 🙂 Thanks for the chuckles ~

  6. Emily October 30, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    I saw this video, and it’s good, but Lenore forgot about the backlash from the anti-junk-food brigade, who spend hours scouring Pinterest for ways to shape fruits and vegetables into emblems of Halloween, and hoping their kids won’t miss the candy. I’ve noticed that that’s a growing trend lately–Halloween comes with warnings about the evils of junk food (even for normal, healthy kids), birthday parties have become “no gifts” affairs, or charity drives (or worse, the kid still gets gifts, but they’re redistributed to needy kids, or half are rewrapped for their birthday, “from the parent”), Christmas comes with an annual toy purge, and/or an excursion to the soup kitchen or the toy drive to volunteer. My point is, eating healthy is good, charity is good, and teaching moments are good, but when did it come about that EVERY holiday has to revolve around those things for kids?

  7. Eric October 30, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Reason number 1001 why I don’t want kids. If my wife had one next year, then by the time they are 4 who knows what crazy things I will have to put up with from helicopter parents.

  8. Practical Mama October 30, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    I love this. And may I add, candidly, the excess sugar, dye and other chemicals that is hidden in those wrappings might sound safer than your neighbor’s cookies, brownies what not, but they are more lethal for your child’s health than anything else out there. Legal poison I may say.

  9. pentamom October 30, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    As has been pointed out before, Trunk or Treat is frequently an additional event, not held on Halloween, that allows kids to participate with a different group of people than their neighborhood. For example, you could do Trunk or Treat one night to have fun with your church or scouting or whatever community, and Trick or Treat on Halloween night. Not every new thing is fear-based.

  10. Marianna October 30, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    I watched the video with my 2-year-old on my lap. When the zombie decorations came on the screen, he proclaimed “he’s not scary.” After the video ended, he kept going on about how “zombies eat brains” and “it’s fun.” So yeah, I’m not really worried about Halloween being too scary for him.

  11. Emily October 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    P.S., I’m not against giving gifts to needy kids, but I am against the idea of, say, little Jenny putting thought and effort into picking out a gift for her friend (for example, “Peter’s baseball glove is looking worn out. I’ll get him a new one for his birthday next week.”), and then having Peter’s parents cull the gifts, so he might not even get to use his new baseball glove. Yes, some other kid will, but it’d still be hurtful to Jenny and her parents, who meant the baseball glove to be for Peter…..but wait, they’re not allowed to be hurt, because the glove was Given To Less Fortunate Children So Peter Won’t Grow Up To Be Greedy. A lot of people forget that attending traditional birthday parties, with traditional gift-giving, and one person being “special” for the day (with the understanding that everyone will have their turn eventually), teaches kids to give and receive gifts graciously, and that they can’t be “the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral” (as Miss Manners would say), and that’s just as important a lesson as charity.

    Anyway, Lenore, I have an idea for a possible weekly feature on this blog–it could be called “You Got It Right The First Time,” and it’d be about a traditional childhood ritual the way we remember it, and how it’s been changed now. Some might be debatable (for example, Valentines for the whole class in elementary school versus a select few, or picking teams for gym randomly versus the “team captains picking one kid at a time” method), but some, I’d imagine would come down overwhelmingly in favour of the old way, like it did when you posted the article about Girl Scouts having an indoor “campfire” and making s’mores with Marshmallow Fluff.

  12. no rest for the weary October 30, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    Yes, once again, MOVING VEHICLES end up being the main thing that cause harm to kids in this culture.


    Not sex offenders, not random strangers meaning harm, not psychological scarring from fake blood displays.


  13. lollipoplover October 30, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    @no rest for the weary-
    Amen to that.

    My personal pet peeve:
    Parents who drive their kids door to door on Halloween instead of making them walk the neighborhood. If you can’t do the walk, you don’t get the candy! I cringe when I see a car slowing following children who trick or treat to the doors by themselves but have a parent lurking behind to pick them up at the end of streets and drive them to the next street over. What I fear most is my kids getting hit by mom’s taxi service.

    As for banning scary, don’t tell that to the local farms around here who do a killer business with the haunted hayrides for kids. Mine LOVE these scary, gory, characters jumping out of the corn nights with friends. And judging by the lines at these places on weekends, so do many other kids.

  14. Hancock October 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

    Trunk-or-treat tends to be church activity in addition to Trick-or-treat, hence the tenancy to hold them during the day, on a date other than Halloween. Other than that, I totally agree! Honestly, the paranoia surrounding the holiday is breathtaking. Definitely sharing.

  15. Kenny Felder October 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    SO WELL DONE. I posted a link to this video on my Facebook; here’s hoping a lot of people click! (Anyone who knows me by now is used to hearing “Lenore Skenazy this” and “Lenore Skenazy that” all the time anyway.)

  16. Steve S October 30, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    One of the local TV stations stepped it up from the usual warning to check for tampered candy and suggested that parents check the state sex offender registry and print off a map so that they can avoid those houses. They also recommended several apps that helped in identifying places where criminals are.

  17. Donna October 30, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Trunk or treats around here tend to be pretty substantial Halloween parties and not just kids walking around to cars parked in a circle. Some are on Halloween and some are not. Not sure where Lenore got her vision of trunk or treat.

  18. Papilio October 30, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

    @Emily: “Valentines for the whole class in elementary school versus a select few, or picking teams for gym randomly versus the “team captains picking one kid at a time” method”

    To those of us who knew the pain
    of Valentines that never came
    To those whose names were never called
    when choosing sides for basketball

    Fortunately over here Valentine’s Day celebrates romantic relationships, so has little to nothing to do with elementary school kiddies.
    And can I just say I’m very glad I don’t have gym class anymore? 🙂

  19. Papilio October 30, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    @lollipoplover: “I cringe when I see a car slowing following children”

    You could just loudly accuse them of being a pervert… Heh, heh, heh >:E

  20. Angela October 30, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    My dad lives in a neighborhood where everyone goes all out for Halloween. One year, in this guys really nice zombie graveyard front yard, one of the zombies was ‘real,’ a guy in a suit pretending to be a prop. When the kids would walk through the graveyard to look at all the decorations, he’d jump out at them.

    Glad that hasn’t been banned here yet.

  21. Jill October 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    Brava! I love the idea of zombies looking too real.

  22. Jill October 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    Additionally, speaking as a former kid, Trunk or Treat sucks stale Snickers bars, IMO. It’s about as much fun as having your sister as your date for the senior prom.

  23. BL October 30, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    ” traditional gift-giving, and one person being “special” for the day (with the understanding that everyone will have their turn eventually), teaches kids to give and receive gifts graciously, and that they can’t be “the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral””

    But at birthday parties EVERYONE gets cake. That’s the best part.

  24. Anonymous October 30, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    @BL–That’s actually a good point. Birthday parties teach kids that, even though they can’t be the “birthday kid” at every party, and they sometimes (often) have to defer that honour to someone else, they’ll get their turn….and in the meantime, they still get cake and ice cream, they still get to swim/skate/bowl/play Laser Tag/whatever, and they should enjoy the fun parts of being a guest.

  25. BPFH October 30, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Just had fun telling off someone on my city’s Facebook feed (“When in doubt check it out”, as she said) for freaking out about supposedly tainted Halloween candy.

  26. CrazyCatLady October 30, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    Great video! We have been invited to a church dinner and a trunk or treat tomorrow night. Fortunately, I made plans to walk with another parent, in a neighborhood. We live 3 miles from town, with only a few houses, so yes, I will be taking my kids in and walking behind them after I park the car, with another mom who will be doing the same thing. Yup, we will kind of keep an eye on the kids, because 1) we have a couple who will invite themselves into houses, and 2) the neighborhood gives good candy but the roads are not standard grid and are easy to get lost in the dark for the kids.

    Totally agree that cars are the most dangerous thing. Every year there are some young adults that drive highway speed in the neighborhood, fortunately screaming their heads off so you can hear them coming. So far, all the kids have gotten out of the way, but I do fear the day when the kids don’t and more than one family will live a life of regrets and sadness.

  27. Jason October 30, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

    You have put a lot of work into your trolling. Artificial sweeteners are “more lethal than anything out there”. The terribly gay (as in lame, and effeminate, and velvet, and incredibly easy for a kid’s preteen peers to mock) batman costume that your son “loves” but is “less than enthusiastic to pose in” is absolutely sad and hilarious, and way lower quality and (probably) more flammable than the store bought one I had as a kid. That kid is going to carry scars for years. Whoever you got those photos from should definitely pay way more attention to what their kid is communicating to them. They’re certainly a bad listener.

  28. Jenny Islander October 31, 2014 at 1:27 am #

    Hey, Lenore, we had the usual Halloween warning article in the paper this week!

    *Suggest that your kids go to Halloween parties, the late afternoon office trick-or-treat event downtown, etc., instead of going off alone.
    *If doing traditional trick-or-treat this year, make sure that little kids stay with a parent and big kids stick together. Don’t sneak around!
    *Carry a flashlight. If you’re planning to trick-or-treat away from streetlights, carry an air horn.
    *NEVER take a shortcut.
    *Stay away from Dumpsters.
    *Finish up whatever you’re doing to celebrate the evening by 8 p.m. because after then the predators come out.
    *And if you see one, call the police!

    Why all this caution? Because quarter-ton brown bears have been sighted in neighborhoods half a mile from downtown. It’s just that time of year. We haven’t had our first real snowfall yet, so they aren’t denning up in time for Halloween. Instead, they’re roaming around looking for every extra calorie they can scrounge.

    And yet, life goes on.

  29. Jenny Islander October 31, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    Forgot to add: This town has never canceled Halloween. Nor bears, nor blizzards, nor sleet, nor gale-force winds have ever prompted the local authorities to declare that Halloween is just too dangerous.

  30. Lance Mitaro October 31, 2014 at 2:31 am #

    Leave it up the media and lawmakers to designate Halloween as a “holiday” that’s mutually exclusive to children. Then fear-spin it in their favor.

  31. MichaelF October 31, 2014 at 6:08 am #

    Well at least the trunk or treat cars were dressed up.

    My kids love walking out, they always ask me to take them, and they know which houses have the best candy so we all plan a route together. The family comes and we go out as a group, neighbors, family and class mates we find on the way.

    My only problem is what flask to bring to make MY Halloween enjoyable.

  32. Dhewco October 31, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    My town has two weird, new (last fifteen, twenty years) traditions…One, the businesses around the town square will put out candy for the kids to walk the square. As you can imagine for this town of 4k, traffic in town becomes a dangerous nightmare and the few cops working have their hands full.

    The second is the ‘rich’ neighborhood gets inundated with trick or treaters. People come from all over town to trick or treat here. Curbs are blocked for at least a mile.

    I will say, when I was a kid in the early 80s, my favorite house was the woman who gave quarters instead of candy. I could walk the half mile to the nearest store and pick my own candy.

  33. Dhewco October 31, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    One thing to add, in reference to the comment about someone entering the person’s house, I would never actually do that. However, peering into the house from the door was one of my favorite parts of the experience. Seeing how other people lived gave me a thrill as a kid. It told me that my experience wasn’t permanent. (I was poor, with very little money for fun.)

  34. Stacy October 31, 2014 at 8:21 am #

    “The second is the ‘rich’ neighborhood gets inundated with trick or treaters. People come from all over town to trick or treat here. Curbs are blocked for at least a mile.”

    The rich neighborhood in our town gives out king size candy bars, so I don’t really blame the kids, but since we live a block away, our road is filled with cars and two million trick-or-treaters. Fortunately, it’s also filled with kids who are allowed to trick-or-treat in packs, often without parents, and manage to stay safe and mostly behave themselves. Also, alcohol-laced treats for adults whose kids are too little to go alone. Some suburbs are still doing things the old-fashioned way. 🙂

  35. J- October 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    This “kids get poisoned” thing g-d damn destroys my soul.

    It is cold on Halloween. Right now it is snowing in Chicago. What I used to do in South Dakota (where people seem to be more trusting) is boil up a big batch of hot cocoa. Real hot cocoa, made with milk, cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, etc., and put it in an insulated drink dispenser with some dixie cups. Nice warm cocoa on a cold evening.

    I tried that in Chicago. No takers. I still gave out candy, but watched as the parents warned their kids not to take the hot cocoa and give me dirty looks like I was some sort of monster. Its 30 damn degrees outside, your kid is shivering in his Power Ranger unitard, and I am evil for offering him something warm to drink!

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  36. Jenny Islander October 31, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    @ J-: While arguing with somebody who has already decided to believe two cognitively dissonant things is an exercise in frustration, I would be tempted to point out that since they got a good look at your face and the number of your house, it’s highly unlikely that you are some kind of mad poisoner.

    And then take a drink of cocoa and pretend to keel over dead, just to point up how stupid it all is.

  37. Papilio October 31, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    Does anyone else wonder…
    a) Are the helicopter parents now preparing a witchhunt to burn Lenore on a stack of FRK books?
    b) Are broomsticks faster than helicopters?

    If we don’t hear from Lenore tomorrow, something must be terribly wrong! 😛

  38. Dhewco October 31, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    It’s sad. I live in a neighborhood with quite a few school age kids and not one knocked on our door. We weren’t decorated, but the light was on.

    When I was a kid, we’d knock even on the darkened doors. It added to the scare. (We knew we weren’t supposed to, but it was more thrilling to do it anyway.)

  39. oncefallendotcom October 31, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

    Hey Lenore, today’s my birthday so where’s my present? LOL

    By the way here’s my thought for today:

    Far more kids are hurt or killed by cars on Halloween than by sex offenders. Yet, we are banning registrants from Halloween activities, while cars are still allowed to participate in “Trunk or Treat.” So why aren’t cars banned from Halloween?

  40. Katie G October 31, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    There’s one other, but not so much from “safety” as from sheer laziness. Tell me, how many costumes did you see tonight that were NOT off-the-rack purchases? How many were home-made?

    Bet you didn’t have to think long, because if you saw one or two, you’d notice. My own three were owls, which did take a while for me to get ready (my oldest is 8) . But they were almost the only ones we saw in town wearing anything homemade and everyone oohed and aahed over them.
    (For the record, while never off-the-rack, their costumes aren’t always so labor-intensive. when my 5yo was 2, his green overalls, brown shirt, and teddy bear hat made him into the bear “Corduroy.” With the one addition of an oversized white “button” on the strap.)

  41. carolyn October 31, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    We give hot chocolate to the parents. We have done it for years. When it is only offered to the parents first, people seem more open. Then if a kids seems interested, we ask the parents if it is okay. We also give it to kids we know and the teens.

    This year my 10 year old went trick-or-treating with friends. She wanted to go with no adults last year, but couldn’t find any friends who were allowed to go alone. I also told my kids they could eat there candy without it being checked. So glad that I read Free Range Kids years ago, and don’t have to worry about silly things!

  42. pentamom November 1, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    Some people are just really freaky and phobic about eating food other people have prepared because they believe that any kitchen not their own can or will cause instant death by food poisoning. So for people that like, it makes sense to accept the wrapped candy, but not the cocoa that might possibly have been made in a pot that hasn’t been washed since you made chicken soup in it three weeks ago.

  43. pentamom November 1, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    There’s also the belief that any child under 18 can’t be trusted with any substance heated to over 100 degrees. They may be afraid their little snowflakes will be melted by a guy who doesn’t know better than to serve children boiling liquids in paper cups.

  44. Dean November 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    You forgot the latest scare; marijuana laced candy being shipped from Colorado all over the US to poison kids. Luckily, Halloween with my godson in small town Quebec is awesome. Elaborate decorations on houses, including adults/teenagers being scary ghosts/zombies etc. Bigger kids in packs sans parents. Smaller kids with parents all in costume, and most costumes homemade. Hot cocoa and homemade treats given and accepted.

  45. Flurry November 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    @pentamom, off-topic, but that whole sensibility of “everyone elses’s kitchen is a den of bacteria supervised by bands of roving fruit flies” makes me so angry. Why would that be the first thing you think about anyone who offers homemade food on the basis of, well, nothing, especially if you know them (but maybe haven’t seen their kitchen or their food prep protocols!)?

    It must be awfully limiting to be unable to eat at someone else’s home or participate in office potlucks (I work with a few like this)because of an unfounded assumption.

  46. Donna November 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Katie G – I guess it depends on the area. In my area, costumes are about 60/40 handmade and store-bought. We do both. It just depends on what she wants to be since I have no ability whatsoever to sew. When she wanted to be a pumpkin, I bought the costume. This year she was a witch so all I bought was a hat and green face paint. Last year’s cowgirl was similar.

  47. lollipoplover November 1, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    Funny Halloween story:
    My 13 year-old son asked me earlier this week what Mischief Night was. He brought it up like it was an urban legend. We talked about pranks (my older brother had a reputation growing up) and then he asked me if he could go out this year- he and his friends had a plan.

    We have a friendly rivalry with a family in our neighborhood. Last summer after a swim meet, they toilet papered our house. It was done in the friendliest vandalism way but it absolutely cracked up my kids. My son wanted to TP their house this year for paybacks. He wanted to go out for Mischief Night.

    Now no good parent would encourage their son to toilet paper a house. So I called this friend and told her that these kids want to revive Mischief night and TP her house. She got so excited and thought it was a great idea (I have strange friends). Mission Mischief Night was a go and it’s all he talked about this week.

    But he didn’t go out for Mischief Night. In classic teenager fashion, he didn’t understand that the date was the night BEFORE Halloween and not on Halloween. I wasn’t going to remind him (he was studying for tests) of his Mischief Night commitments. The friend who gave him the green light to TP her house said she couldn’t wait to look out her window to see her trees that morning and was disappointed when their house wasn’t hit.

    On Halloween, we had a big party with most of the families in our neighborhood (including this family) . After trick-or-treating, my son and his friends assembled to tell us they were going to TP the house now. Instead of taking the surplus toilet paper from the garage, the went bathroom to bathroom taking all the rolls from the house (which is great during a party, let me tell you!)

    And they got caught! The next door neighbor came out and busted them and my son walked over to her and she asked his name. He gave it to her (first and last!) and she was yelling at them when the dad of the family walked up and thanked her for looking after his house. He told her he knew these boys and they were good kids and had permission to TP his house.

    He brought the boys over to the trees with dangling sheets of toilet paper and lined them up. He said very firmly, “I give this effort a B minus.” He explained to them that they need to unravel the toilet paper with a tail first before throwing it up in the trees and gave them a physics lecture on how to throw the rolls. He then told them the reason that they got caught was because they were giggling like school girls and when doing a proper job, you should always have a lookout. He also commended my son for his honesty but told him next time give out a different name and then run like the wind.
    So it wasn’t technically on Mischief Night, but the tradition still lives! And he won’t stop talking about it.

  48. Michele November 4, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    Love it, Lenore!

    Trunk or treating is simply pathetic. As is doing it at the local mall. Now those, are the real horrors!

  49. Jenny Islander November 4, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    So while driving home from TorT (yes, we drove, bears, remember?) we saw an official park ranger truck pull up by the local playground, which is chopped out of the side of the mountain that separates town from wilderness.

    Last night I saw the annual bear encounter map in the local paper, showing green (saw a bear), yellow (saw a bear, it was eating garbage/birdseed/dog food that some silly person left out), and red (saw a bear, it was destroying property). Awful lot of green and yellow dots about six houses up the mountainside from ours.

    Things we did not see: official freakouts.

  50. Dan November 5, 2014 at 7:39 am #

    I live in Washington, where this year there were quite a few breathless warnings about how kids could receive halloween candy infused with (now legal) marijuana.

    And look, one week into November, no one has a single report of a single child receiving a single pot-laced treat.

    According to one report this was “due in part to the fact that marijuana edibles are expensive and not widely available.”

    But of course it’s due mostly to the fact by and large are not evil and do not behave in accordance with our most irrational fears.

  51. lsl November 5, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Some Halloween goodness from Epbot. http://www.epbot.com/2014/11/halloween-reader-show-tell.html

    The last tweet is especially appropriate for this blog.