There once was a time, not so long ago, when America's suburban neighborhoods were swarmed with trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. Those were the good old days when homeowners set up mock graveyards on their front lawns and passed out 60 lbs. of candy in 20 minutes.
Where have all the trick-or-treaters gone?
Thanks to the overzealous media and a generation of hyper-paranoid parents, trick-or-treating has become a life-threatening activity, tantamount in danger to riding a bicycle without a helmet or jumping into a swimming pool less than 20 minutes after eating lunch.
While many people may criticize parents who won't let their children go trick-or-treating in their own neighborhoods, I for one applaud them. You are absolutely right: accepting candy from masked strangers standing outside JCPenney is much safer than taking a Snickers bar from the elderly widow down the street.
Thumbs-up to you moms and dads who teach your children to fear the world. Suburbia is a very scary place, even more dangerous than an inner city ghetto. Your neighbors may seem nice enough, but you are right to suspect that the single man living two doors down spends every evening in October hiding razor blades in Almond Joys and injecting lethal doses of rat poison into Tootsie Rolls.
Because you never can be too safe, be sure to remind your children this Halloween that there are lots of scary people living in your neighborhood.
Just don't forget to include yourselves on that list.
|Jana Mathews is the mother of "four under five" and the author of The Meanest Mom blog.|