Halloween is a pretty scary time of year. What with all the witches, goblins, and monsters lurking about. And no, I'm not talking about costumes.
As parents, we are constantly drilling into our kids not to talk to people they don't know. Don't take candy from strangers. And yet, on October 31 of every year, we dress them up and send them on their way out into the cold, spooky night to beg for candy from total strangers.
Okay, that may be a tad bit melodramatic, but the point is that in this day and age, there is absolutely no way I would let my kids go out trick or treating by themselves. I have no idea how other parents could even think about it!
When I was a kid, I remember dressing up and going out trick or treating with my best friend Chris. Sometimes it was his neighborhood, sometimes mine. It was just the two of us and we'd probably go out for two or three hours, filling up our pillow cases with as much candy loot as we could carry. Then we'd head back home, dump it on the floor, and start swapping.
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There was never a concern from my parents about any danger. I certainly wasn't scared. In fact, I loved the freedom of just going out with my friend.
These days, though, the world's a much scarier place.
I may live in a real nice area but I'd still never let my kids go door to door by themselves. There's plenty of people in my neighborhood I've never even met. With so many horrible abduction stories filling the news daily, why would any parent even risk it?
I can understand when the kids are much older like teenagers, but for my two boys who are 7 and 9, I'd barely trust them on our own driveway by themselves.
Instead, my wife and I go with the kids and their friends (along with other parents) as they trick or treat from door to door. We stay in the street while all the kids run in packs from house to house. It's most definitely safer, but it also brings out a nice community feel for the neighborhood.
Call me ridiculous. Say I'm over-protective. Honestly, I don't care. Because it just takes a few seconds of you letting your guard down for some sick psychopath to snatch your kids and you will never see them again. Sometimes it really is better to be safe than sorry.
Do you let your kids trick or treat by themselves?
Photo via Eden, Janine and Jim/Flickr