Ah, the paradox that is Halloween: we spend all year telling our kids not to take candy from strangers, then we throw hundreds of dollars away on decorations, sugared treats, and ridiculous costumes to encourage them to go door-to-door in the dark, begging for … candy from strangers. Parenthood doesn’t always make sense.
I’ve seen multiple memes on Facebook lately pertaining to teenage trick-or-treaters: some say these kids are too old to participate, other say let them be kids as long as possible and give them some measly candy. Opinions, everybody has one.
Whether you’re traipsing the neighborhood with a screaming toddler who won’t keep his Superman cape on, or sending your pre-teen out with his excited friends, there’s an important topic to discuss first: whose doors will your kids be knocking on?
You may know who lives next door, but many of us drive our sugared-up kids to multiple neighborhoods in search of the ultimate candy haul. Or your older kids may wander farther than normal, determined to hit the candy jackpot by hitting as many houses as possible. Your family could end up on streets that you don’t normally travel, and you may think it’s ok for your kids to hit every single house on that street, even if the lights are off. But keep this in mind: some houses are dark for a reason.
Many of us know that people with convictions for certain sex crimes have additional rules to follow as part of their sentences, including reporting on the sex offender registry. However, events like Halloween bring about additional requirements that they must follow. “Operation Blackout” requires sex offenders to not have any Halloween decorations and to keep their porch lights off. They are not allowed to distribute any candy, and they’re subject to a 6pm curfew.
Be mindful of where you’re going and what your kids are doing, as always. If a house is dark, don’t encourage your child to go knock on the door “just in case they answer.” There are countless other doorbells to ring, so simply move on to the next. And don’t forget the “candy tax” after your worn-out goblins go to bed – we adults need a reward for surviving the Halloween season.
Trick or treat, smell my feet … if I hear my kindergartener say that little ditty one more time, I may lose my mind. His candy tax is going to be high this year.