A reader left a comment earlier regarding safety at Halloween. How far do we go when wanting to protect our kids from possible dangers? Do we stop them from participating at all, do we do checks on our neighbours, or do we blindly hope that everything will be OK?
We all hear the stories about tainted candy and we grew up listening to haunted house tales with boogie men waiting behind the door waiting to pounce out at us. This is what makes Halloween exciting for young kids (and not so young!). The expectation of something different, something scarier, the anticipation and a little bit of fear.
Being parents we want to protect our children from real danger. We try not to send our children out into the world unaware of or unprepared to cope with life's challenges. It is our responsibility to keep our children safe and protected; this is one of the most basic of parenting roles.
So how far do we go? The reader who commented, Laura Harvey, included a link to a press release about site called Background Checks where you can do a comprehensive criminal checks on your neighbour for just US$5. This sort of thing is usually done to find out if a prospective employee has a criminal record etc. But to check on your neighbours? I think this is scarier than Halloween! People in The States live in a lot more fear of crime than we do here in Singapore. And of course there could be someone with a history of crimes against children living somewhere in your neighbourhood. But it does smack of an invasion of privacy.
A little common sense goes a long way. I would suggest accompanying your children on their trick or treating. We usually go in a group and the kid love this (although a little intimidating for the house being invaded). Plan a route and stick to it. If houses aren't decorated and do not look like they are participating, don't approach them.
The other thing is moderation. My neighbours all get together first and make sure the kids have eaten a decent meal before heading out. This way they wont be able to stuff as much candy into their big mouths. All candy should be individually wrapped as well, and I would only accept home-made goodies from people I know.
Have fun with it and enjoy a little spookiness!