The whole premise behind Halloween is fear -- spooky ghosts, ghoulish goblins, gravestones, and bones.
We like to be scared, and this holiday is the perfect time to indulge in the fear factor.
But when it comes to our children's safety, fear isn't fun; and, this holiday -- more than any other -- comes with plenty of warnings and safety concerns that make October 31 scary on a whole other level.
But how much do parents really need to worry?
Here are some things you do and DON'T need to fear on Halloween:
For decades parents have inspected their children's trick-or-treating loot in search of poison, razor blades, and other dangerous materials strangers may have placed in it to harm children. But guess how many children have ever been harmed in such a manner?
Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids, How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts With Worry), says it's an urban myth people have bought into when there has never ever been a case of strangers poisoning a child's Halloween candy.
"Halloween is sort of the test market for urban myths and children," Skenazy said. "It's supposed to be a fake spooky holiday. People make up this stuff, and we're inundated with fears that are nonsense."
Of course, there's always a first time ...
It's true that children are twice as likely to be hit by cars on Halloween as on any other night, but that's because so many children are outside, Skenazy says.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't take real precautions though. Children should wear reflective clothing, use lighted products, and, above all, BE CAREFUL.
It's always good to be safe, but chances are that your neighbors who otherwise are non-threatening the rest of the year aren't going to turn into predators because it's Halloween.
"Just because we embrace vampires on Halloween doesn't mean vampires are real," Skenazy said.
Still, while many of our worries about Halloween may be unwarranted, there's also the philosophy of better safe than sorry.
If you're in that camp, then the American Academy of Pediatrics has a great list of Halloween Safety Tips that provides some good reminders and precautions everyone can take to ensure a happy Halloween.
What do you fear most about Halloween?
Image via kwbridge/Flickr