Trick Or Treat – Don’t Be Scared.

Trick or Treating in the Mall = Doomed to a life of mediocrity.

8 kids.  That’s all I had at my door last night.  Now, admittedly, I didn’t get home until 7:30 last night.  Probably missed quite a few.  But it was dead by 8pm and that’s sad.  Ok, it’s a school night, but it won’t kill the kid to go to bed a little late one night.

I’ve always really liked Halloween and here’s why.  It’s not religious.  It’s not solemn.  It’s not celebrating anything or anyone in particular.  It’s a night that says, “Be who you want to be.  Come out of your shell.  Leave your house.  Talk to people you don’t know.  Eat candy.”  In other words, “Loosen up and have some fun for no reason whatsoever.”

Maybe if we had a couple more days like that during the year we’d have fewer people walking in and shooting up buildings.

So it makes me sad to see all the media hype over dangers to children and crime and police presences at Halloween.  And don’t even get me started on JesusWeen.  The church loves to think everything is about them.

So what about kidnappings?  Now, of course, this is not a subject to be taken lightly.  I do a lot of performing and fundraising to help support GINA For Missing Persons.  But here’s the thing.  75% of child kidnappings are perpetrated by a family member or acquaintance.  I’ve been googling for a half hour now and I can’t find any pages talking about actual kidnappings on Halloween despite this page citing some unspecified ones.  So that being said, maybe your kid is safer out talking to strangers than being at home visiting with a creepy uncle, eh?

Some locales are trying to institute laws that ban sex offenders from participating in Halloween.  They have to stay home and keep their porch light off so they can’t give out candy.  I applaud that.  Not because they’re a danger to the children.  Just because they’re assholes and shouldn’t have the right to enjoy the evening like everyone else.  In fact, since they’re home, they should be forced to watch the film “Norbert” on endless loop with short breaks of “Real Housewives of Miami”.

Salon has a link to a study posted on a sexual abuse journal website called “How Safe Are Trick-Or-Treaters?: An Analysis of Child Sex Crime Rates on Halloween.”  In it, they provide evidence that there is no unusual spike in cases of child sex crimes either just before, after, or during Halloween.

Here’s another one from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service  saying that the media hypes the dangers of Halloween way out of proportion to what they actually are.

People take their kids to trick or treat at the mall.  So instead of learning to socialize and be comfortable talking to new people, they go to the same old place and feed their same old consumerist habits.  It’s just another reason to go shopping.

Oh, and if you parents are getting tired of trudging along with your kids on the treat trail, let them eat the candy as they go.  The sugar high is a myth.  Sugar is a carbohydrate containing tryptophan, which is a precursor of the neurotransmitter called Serotonin.  Serotonin makes you drowsy.  Military studies have show that high sugar consumption actually makes children tired, not hyper.

I can speak from a little experience here.  I recently had dinner at Club 33 at Disneyland and we were presented with a huge array of desserts.  Considering how much we were paying for the meal we made it our mission to try each and every one.  20 minutes later we couldn’t barely keep our eyes open during the speaker’s presentation.

So what are the dangers of Halloween?  Well, this study from Boston shows that street crime goes up on Halloween.  So parents, don’t take your kids to the bar and you’re probably ok.  Or maybe it’s just Boston.

Look, bottom line… Let your kids get dressed up and sugared up.  Take them out for Halloween and all of you have a good time.  It’s the one day of the year when social judgment is at it’s lowest ebb.  Take advantage of it.

Phil Johnson


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