I created this post as a sort of tongue-in-cheek poke at the holiday, but I’ve also included some helpful hints as well: to keep everyone safe, but also to help you keep your wits, and, most of all, to keep it fun.
Don’t be that person, “ I don’t take part in Halloween because, blah blah.” I’ll share this little tidbit, if you haven’t already seen it first-hand: if you don’t decorate your house, someone else will. It’s better to do it yourself than to let the gremlins take over. You don’t even have to be home or hand out candy. Just, for the love of Pete, decorate! You’re bringing down the block’s average, seriously.
Kids get a little territorial when it comes to certain goody-doling homes. The more you stand out, candy-wise, the better off you’ll be. Tons of people give out the “bite-size” stuff. Raise the bar. Last year, I saw a woman handing out scoops of orange sherbert. On that same street, I saw another house decked out for Xmas and handing out candy canes. (Let’s not start that tradition). The point: wow the little candy-grubbing goblins that come to your door and they’ll go out of their way to protect your house and they’ll save the TP for the guy who hands out the toothbrushes.
Save The Pumpkins
I appreciate a good pumpkin as much as anyone, carved or not. Some people like them so much that they want to see them splat on the asphalt. Obviously, the further away from your door, the more likely your sculpted treasures are going to “walk” away. So, try to keep the pumpkins in line of sight of the windows. The culprits aren’t that brave. On the other hand, you could just get inflatable ones and give yourself some peace of mind.
This helps with the one above, but also with the spirit of things. I think it says something to the kids that you’ve chosen to be part of the celebration. Many people, when I was a kid, waited for the sound of the doorbell before they tore themselves away from their color TV. This doesn’t mean it has to be boring for you. Scare the crap out of the bigger ones. It’s your privilege. If you really can’t part with the TV, put it on the porch alongside you.
Fog It All
Up the creep factor: put a fog machine in your yard. Even on a low setting, the fog really makes visitors feel the scene, even if it’s just a handful of pumpkins and some styrofoam headstones. You did the work. Make them stop and look before they run away with their “ill gotten booty.”
Scare Them First
A lot of the time, the bigger kids, i.e., teenagers, think Halloween is for kids and they tend to get bored. Keep them on their toes. If you make the holiday just as exciting for them, they’ll think twice about redecorating your house. I don’t buy that “too old” bunk. I’d rather have the older ones going for candy than taking drugs or ripping off convenience stores.
If you’re the type to go with your kids while they scamper about, here are a few more helpful tips to keep the holiday out of the ER:
Take A Light
Light-colored clothes may not always work for Trick-or-Treating, but a flashlight or some costume-appropriate light source would certainly help. This holiday is all about darkness, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a little safety conscious. Glow sticks and bracelets will do wonders, and, best of all, kids don’t mind wearing them. If that doesn’t work, the glow stick companies have expanded to include costume accessories like Glow axes, Wands, Pitchforks, and even, Masks and Crowns. Adding one of these to your child’s costume helps put your mind at ease and brings few objections from your little monster. You might just save yourself a sprained ankle. A whistle wouldn’t, necessarily, hurt, either.
The More, The Merrier
There is “safety in numbers,” they say. Maybe there is, but I’ll tell you that things are more tolerable when you have someone to talk to or help instead of being the only adult nervously keeping an eye on fifteen, sugar-fueled kids. Everyone will be happier… and saner.
Set A Game Plan
For example, you could use the old, up one side of the street, then back down the other play. This may seem obvious, but it keeps everyone together. It also keeps kids in view \and out of the path of cars. Let’s try to lower those ugly statistics.
Join The Fun
Remember your true colors, (black, orange, and purple, and some times, green). Some families have a costume theme, and everyone participates. This is good for the kids’ morale. When mom and dad play, too, it shows them that their parents aren’t just working, tight-wads, who begrudgingly take their children out once a year. If it looks like it’s fun for you, it’ll be fun for them.
That’s all for now. Have a safe and happy Halloween, this year and every other. Remember, you’re never too old to join in the fun.