Hallowe’en is important, and forever will be for a simple reason. It is about the kids. People confuse Halloween thinking it is nothing more than kids getting candies and chocolates from strangers. Some moms prefer to buy their kids sugary treats and keep them in the house. That’s unfortunate. While that may really be a safer way of letting the holiday pass, you’re doing an injustice to your children.
First of all, I think it is important for parents to accompany their kids during their trick or treat adventure. That will never change. Kids depend on Mom and Dad to play chaperone to the festivities of Halloween. If you, the parent, is standing at the edge of the driveway, with an eagle eye spotting your child’s every movement as they approach a stranger’s door to ring the door bell, not a lot can go wrong at that point.
Similarily when your kids go back home and empty their pillow sack or trick or treat bag on the floor, and have Mom or Dad sift through it first, the whole ordeal should be fairly safe.
Now that we have the obvious out of the way, let’s see what your kids have learned through this experience:
1) They have confronted fears about walking in the dark, at night, on strange streets in the spirit of Hallowe’en. That is a big deal for someone under the age of 13. It doesn’t mean they’ll do that any other time of the year, but this is a huge learning lesson for them that at the right time, for the right reason, you can conquer your fears.
2) They have learned that Mom and Dad is only a few feet away. They trust you, and the fact you are walking these scarey streets with them, makes them love and trust you that much more. This is where you become the guardian angel in their life, and they feel it. You should love this part. It is a key time where your child wants Mom or Dad nearby when they enter a strange situation and you are right there to protect them. Trick or Treating in the general public brings a bigger bond between you and your child, this is a really good thing!
3) Think of the rest of the year where your child can play a different character or fantasy role? Halloween is the only time of the year that they get to dress up, be a character of their choice, and escape their regular day-to-day persona. How lucky were you as a child when you wanted to dress up as a certain “something”. Allow your children to experience the fun and excitement that you did when you were their age.
4) Learning the neighborhood and community acceptance is what happens for parents and children alike. This is the time when the house 4 doors down that you do not talk to all year long, you finally have the opportunity to walk up their steps, ring their doorbell and say hello. A great way to know your neighbors if you haven’t had the chance yet. Hallowe’en is a time for acceptance between neighbors. It can build some strong relationships simply by giving each other a chance during the holiday.
5) Ever heard of the BUBBLE BOY, which is an old story about a person who had need to live in a sterile bubble to avoid infection. Think about this when you get the idea to tell your kids they shouldn’t trick-or-treat on Halloween. One of the major benefits of Hallowe’en is to get you, and your kids out into the public arena where you both learn to trust, experience, and still be safe by talking to the same neighbors and overall community on your street(s).
There is even more lessons and good things that come out of Halloween, but I won’t go any further. By reading this far, you should start realizing the benefits. Halloween is good. At the end of the night, the parents get to dictate which candies the kids eat, or which houses they knock on the door to.. So what is the problem? Same as parents enjoyed Halloween as kids, they should let their own kids experience the fun too.
Someone might suggest “Well when I was growing up in the 80’s and we had Halloween it was different than in 2012″…
..and to that I would suggest..
“Nothing has changed. It was just as dangerous in the 80’s as it is in 2012.” The point is, you can’t keep your kids in a bubble, and all you have to do as a good parent is watch them knock on each door and inspect their treats and candies. Don’t take away the magic of this one-time-a-year event. Your kids want to dress up and experience what you did. Let them have their moments. There is a way to be safe without losing out on participating on Halloween altogether.