Safe alternatives to T&T’ing miss the point

In a world as dangerous as the one we are living in these days, parents are searching everywhere for safe alternatives to nearly everything.  Including Halloween. Okay, maybe not Halloween specifically, but to trick or treating, because, as we all know, Halloween is one of the most dodgy nights of the year.

What can we do instead of sending our kids (or kid sisters) out on Halloween, dressed as ghastly ghouls and Bratz babies, to ensure their safety?

It’s understandable if this ‘unsafe tradition’ isn’t the first choice. So how about taking the kids to the local church to celebrate the night of the dead?

As many will remember from their childhoods, dressing up as a dead something or an evil something is usually the primary factor in determining one’s choice of costume. Meaning you can take your sister dressed up as the devil to the church without any fear of retribution or trouble from the priest.

These church carnivals often have apple bobbing contests, tubs full of ‘safe’ candy, and Christian rock bands for the older kids. Best of all, the majority of these churches run criminal background checks on all of the volunteers, so there is no fear of any little princesses or princes getting mistreated.

These ever so exciting safe alternatives to trick or treating are the new big thing among safety orientated parents, not to mention the bible-toting moms and pops who don’t really enjoy the idea of having their children roaming the streets on All Hallows’ Eve.

There are a few things I see wrong with this.

I grew up in a very Catholic home. I never got to dress up as a zombie or Frankenstein’s bride or anything cool. And I still secretly resent my parents for giving me the options of a) a princess, b) a princess from a Disney film, or c) a character from a fairytale – so long as the character was living, age appropriate and not full of subtext. But they always took my sisters and I out after sundown, with our homemade costumes discreetly hiding our snowsuits (this was in northern BC after all), and waited patiently at the ends of driveways until our pillowcases were at least half full before taking us home. My parents were the type who were very strict about checking all of the candy before we could even have one mini chocolate bar, and for us girls, half the fun was making sure there wasn’t any razor blades in our Kit Kats.

Parents who take their children to these safe alternatives are essentially depriving them of the fun and excitement that is an integral part of the Halloween experience. Having one hundred percent safe candy from the party at the church will never taste as good as the candy one gets going door to door. Cliché as it might sound, the fruits of one’s own labour are much sweeter.

Trick or treating is a great way to teach your kids the value of a strong work ethic. It’s true, because it shows kids that the harder they work, the more candy they will get. Having someone fill their sack with candy from a pre-determined bag in a church provides our future generations with an unhealthy sense of entitlement. Why should they have to work for candy now (or anything) later, if they can always show up at churches or in parking lots and find all of the ‘candy’ they need?

Besides, if the kids don’t dress up like zombies and get pillowcases stuffed with candy from strangers, who are all of us older kids supposed to push down and steal the candy from?

//Nicole Mucci


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