Is Halloween Still Safe These Days?

Dear Crabby,

My kids really want to go trick or treating this year, but I am very concerned.  The decorations and things that people put out these days are bad enough, and then with all the news of danger out there, I am not sure I should let them go.  What do you think?

Sincerely, Concerned Mom

Dear Concerned Mom,

The world certainly has changed in the last thirty years or so, hasn’t it?  When I was a young family man with young children and lots of energy, I had no problem letting the kids go door to door in our neighborhood.  Of course, I knew most of the neighbors back then.  I would send my kids off with the neighbor dad and his kids and then go take my place by our front porch.  Every year I came up with a new way to scare the bajillies out of a neighbor kid!  One year I put two scarecrows up and then took my place as the third one.  I would wait till just the right moment and then scream at a kid walking by.  Sometimes I’d even grab his candy bag.  It was spectacular!  Another year I bought a Dracula outfit and waited in the bushes until there were about five to ten kids on our porch getting candy from Mrs. Crabby.  Then I sneaked up behind them and tripped the switch so all the lights went out.  Of course, I made sure to shine a big flashlight up at me behind them, all the while making spooky sounds!  I saw one kid start crying and another kid wet his pants while screaming!  It was grand!  As I got older, I didn’t have so much energy though. Last year I just sat on the porch with a bucket full of candy on my lap.  I laid my head back about twenty degrees and opened my mouth like I was dead.  To help sell the bit, I bought this life-like hand and put it in the refrigerator that day.  When one of the neighbor kids came up to the porch, I heard him say to his friend, “I think he’s finally dead!”  The friend said, “No, he’s faking.  Touch his hand.”  As the kid grabbed the cold, fake hand, he let out a high-pitched shriek and said, “He’s dead and cold already!”  At that same moment the fake hand fell and hit the ground, and they all started screaming, crying and hollering for their mommies.  So just to clinch the deal, I jumped up and tried to say, “Who woke me from my sleep?”  But as I started talking, my dentures came flying out at them and that really sent them off the deep end!  The first kid tripped over the second one, and then they both ran off so fast they knocked into three other kids on their way out.  Another fun thing about that was that they both dropped their candy bags, which of course I kept.  So, I’m not sure if that makes you feel any safer about letting your kids go out or not.  You may want to watch out for crabby, old men who are looking for ways to scare your kids.  It might help you to know that the police departments have done a great job in recent years of offering to scan the candy.  The malls, churches, and even the Rochester Farmer’s Market have also put together great alternatives for kids to get candy and dress up too.  My advice is to stay sharp, stay with your kids, and use the tools the police and local government have set up for you.  As for this old curmudgeon, I will have to resign myself to just turning the sprinklers on and listening to all those kids and parents complain while I stay inside my warm and comfortable home.

Sincerly, Dear Crabby 

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