Halloween paranoia reaches a new low (high?) in Dear Abby today:
DEAR ABBY: I have always enjoyed Halloween. I like seeing the children in their costumes and, for most of the little ones, it is a fun and magical time.
In our neighborhood, a group of 15 to 20 parents escort their trick-or-treating children from door to door. Sometimes there are 25 to 30 kids. When they approach a house for their treats, the parents remain on the sidewalk, apparently oblivious to what’s going on when the door opens.
We have a small front porch that rises about 8 inches above the sidewalk. The kids push and shove, jockeying for position to get their “loot.” Last year, a 5-year-old fell off our porch. Fortunately, she was not hurt. The parents did not issue any directions to their children to take turns accepting our candy because they were too busy chatting among themselves.
Because of the inherent danger to unsupervised children (and the possibility of a lawsuit if there should be an accident), I will not be turning on my porch light this year — the signal in our area that alerts kids that the home is participating in trick-or-treat.
I hope my letter will remind parents to practice mindfulness and make this Sunday a Happy Halloween! — LIGHTS OUT IN HARRISBURG
Ah, yes, the three P’s of Halloween paranoia: poison, pedophiles, and….porches?
Good Lord. Now, kids whose parents don’t hold them by the hand and walk them to the door are “unsupervised” and in “danger”? Their parents not “be[ing] mindful” because they’re standing 10 feet away on the sidewalk, chatting? And a five-year-old fell 8 inches? Cripes.
Even more disturbing is Abby’s response:
DEAR LIGHTS OUT: So do I, and that’s why I’m printing your letter, which arrived just in time for me to include it in today’s column. Last year your neighbors were lucky the child who fell didn’t break a wrist or an ankle. Parents, when escorting your little ghosts, goblins and vampires, please remain vigilant. Common sense must prevail.
Right. Common sense. Like, kids can probably walk a few yards on their own two feet–and that hardly counts as unsupervised. If anything, these kids are probably too supervised: if they were on their own, they’d be wandering in groups of 3 and 5, not escorted in a mob of 50 as the entire neighborhood approaches each house at one time.
And, of course, if the homeowner feels that she or a little hannah montana is in danger of being trampled by a herd of mini justin biebers, she can just shout out, “Hey kids, one at a time! no candy until you line up to the right, please!”
Lights Out might try a little common sense herself, rather than bitterly shutting off the lights on the entire holiday.
For some refreshing attitudes on Halloween, and, um, life, please check out Free Range Kids.