The big day is here. The costumes are all in order, the house is decorated, and the candy is hiding where the kids can’t get into it. There is an excitement in the air that comes only with special days like Santa morning, Easter egg day, birthdays, and of course trick-or-treat day. Kids everywhere are behaving as though they have already eaten ten pounds of pure sugar, and parents are trying to figure out just how they are going to paint “that” on squirming kids’ faces. Soon the hoards of costumed, masked, wigged, and painted youngsters will be unleashed on the night brandishing all manner of weapons from swords and knives to fairy wands and cherubic smiles. Screams of excitement and fear will mingle in the night with those magical words summoning goodies from behind closed doors. Children will crowd on doorsteps, villains and heroes together, princesses and monsters side by side, as they call out their chants.
“Trick or treat,” they will demand.
“Halloween apples,” they sing-song, while hoping for anything but delicious crunchy and healthy apples.
And my personal favorite - and kids make sure you get this one right because I don’t give out the candy until you get up the nerve to say the whole thing …
“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. Not too big, not too small, just the size of Montreal.”
Halloween, a night of magic for the young and innocent, but it is also a night of real fear for some parents. From the urban myths of treats laced with everything from poisons to pins and razor blades, making nervous parents carefully inspect eat tidbit for signs of tampering and automatically toss out anything missing a wrapper or carefully homemade with love. To fears of the true monsters lurking the darkened streets while masses of children run pell-mell, most supervised and some not.
My fears out there are twofold. First, and the greatest danger I see, is the witches brew of droves of parents driving their kids to trick or treat up and down their neighborhood streets, mixed with the dark of night, a few hundred excited and careless kids running wild, and one split second. My other, and much less likely to happen, fear is the encounter between fearless little faces and an escaped pet nervously running loose agitated with excitement and nervousness over the droves of wild yelling kids.
And of course, no Halloween is complete without the usual list of safety tips.
• Costumes – Not so long that you trip, make certain you can see well, and they should be flame resistant.
• Houses – Only approach well lit home and do not go inside, especially strangers houses.
• Route – Know your route and when to be home. Parents should know your route too.
• Roads – Stick to the sidewalks. Go up one side of the street, then cross and do the other side. Never zigzag back and forth across the road. Drivers cannot watch all the kids all the time. Don’t cross unless you are certain the driver sees you. Wave at the driver to make sure.
• Treats – Don’t eat anything until after it is inspected by your parents.
• Groups – Trick-or-treat in groups. Safety in numbers. Don’t let a friend take off on their own if they are supposed to be with your group. Or, take a parent.
• Help – Know where to go if you need help. Talk to your parents about which neighbors you can go to on your route if they are closer than home. Know your home phone number if you get lost. Talk about how to recognize a “safe” house to ask to use the phone (like a “Block Parent” house).
• Animals – Never approach a loose pet. Any animal roaming this night may be scared by so many excited kids running around. An animal that normally would not bite will bite if it is scared.
Happy trick or treating on this night of frights and delights.
Due to time constraints I missed the Halloween blog for a couple days. So today I will give a list of the missing feature stories. All are flash fiction stories (1,000 words or less).
“Ghost Ship” When it is dark and you are sailing the seas or find yourself on the seaside, beware.
“Ghost Ship 2: Return the Illopogas”
A Halloween did you know:
All Hallows Eve and the festival of the dead. Ancient Celts believed that on Samhain, a harvest festival, the barriers between their world and that of the otherworld (netherworld) weakened, becoming thing, making it possible for spirits to move between the two worlds. Costumes and masks were worn to confuse the harmful spirits, making them believe the costume garbed mortals were harmful spirits too. Spirits of the departed were also honored. Along with leaving open a window or door facing to the west and setting a place for them at the table, loved ones spirits were invited into the home. The spirits should also be properly entertained and perhaps their favorite meal prepared. A candle burning in a westward window helps the dead find their way home.