Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting the Kids off the Street

Normally, I’d be all behind getting the kids off the street.  But this isn’t a case of finding productive or more fun activities for kids to do rather than hanging around street corners and playgrounds at night. 

No, we’re talking about good old Halloween.  A local elementary school is planning a Halloween event next Monday to “Get the Kids off the Street”. 

I don’t know about you but I have a problem with this.  Is this what it has come down to?  It’s bad enough we are so paranoid that we don’t allow our children to walk by themselves to school and shake our heads over those kids we do see walking alone.  Do we have to take trick or treating from our children too?  What about traditions. What about community spirit and good old neighbourly friendliness? 

Every Halloween my kids dress up and we go up and down our street.  Not the entire block, just our street.  Now I may not know all my neighbours by their first names but I do know that many of the older ones look forward to this time every year. Not only do they get to have a bit of fun and interaction with the kids but I am sure it also brings back fond memories of their own Halloween nights with their kids. 

What happens then if everyone decides to forgo the door to door trick or treating? Who tells the neighbours who bought candy and goes to all the bother of carving pumpkins and putting up spooky decorations?

Last year I thought the neighbourhood was a little thin of trick or treaters but then we were new but now I’m wondering if it’s a sign of things to come.

This year we have the option of going to a candy carnival at our Church, which is the Church’s way of allowing the kids to have fun without calling it “Halloween”.  Yet, I’m reluctant to take them. While I am up for letting my kids have fun, what about our traditions?  If we’re at the Church, who is at my house giving out candy? Who is going to admire our carved pumpkins?  Or will my house join those (who I call in my head party poopers) who keep their lights off and their blinds and curtains shut tight against the veritable cuteness that abounds this night? 

Honestly, haven’t we gone just a wee bit too far in trying to protect our kids?  Isn’t it enough that we can keep our kids safe by using some common sense? 

  • We don’t accept baked goods from neighbours, which is a total shame because really a homemade cookie is so much better than one of this mini chocolate bars.
  • We use glow sticks necklaces and bracelets to try and keep our children more visible. 
  • We carry a flashlight and use reflective bags for collecting candy. 
  • At home we inspect the candy before doling it out to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. 
  • We make sure costumes fit properly so our kids don’t trip and they can see through their masks.

Do we really have to curb their freedom too?

Maybe I'm just a homebody but I think I’d rather stick to our family traditions of staying close to home and making it a small yet fun event.  My kids don’t need to go to a big hyped up party where not only will they get over full on sugar but have to compete with crowds of other kids just to line up for activity booths. In the end they are tired, grumpy and miserable. 

Halloween may be all about dressing up and getting candy but I’d like to think it’s about more than that.  It’s not just about what you can get. 

What does Halloween mean to you?


  1. Alas, I'll be spending the night in Barrie tomorrow.

  2. It's a shame that we are resorting to eliminating trick or treating in our neighborhoods. I grew up going trick or treating door to door and I will continue to take my kids to do the same. I don't think it's necessary to stop.


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