There's more about Halloween to be scared of than ghouls, goblins and vampires. Far more frightening are unsafe costumes that lack reflective tape and the omnipresent danger of one of your neighbors hiding a razor blade in a Milky Way or spiking the candy corn with LSD.
This informative educational film from 1977 is exactly the sort of thing we used to watch in school when I was a kid.
Halloween Safety (Centron Educational Films, 1977) Part One
Halloween Safety (Centron Educational Films, 1977) Part Two
Unsafe costumes, razor blades in candy; these were the things children of my generation were taught to fear on Halloween. But let's face it, the world is a lot more complex and dangerous in 2008 than it was in 1977. And while this film offers some information that is still helpful, it is hopelessly out-date today. Because the dangers we face today are greater, parents must work harder than ever to keep their children in a constant state of fearful paranoia.
It is in that spirit that I have created five updated Halloween safety recommendations for 2008:
1. Rather than merely cutting candy bars or fruit in half to check for sharp objects, I recommend that parents purchase x-ray machines to examine all Halloween treats.
2. After they have been x-rayed, all treats should be sent to a lab for a complete chemical analysis to check for harmful substances. The yummy, safe treats should be back in time for Ground Hog Day, so you might want plan another super fun event for when the kids actually get to eat the candy.
3. It's important for the modern parent to remember there is more to worry about these days than hippies trying to turn our kids on to acid. Today's parent should be very concerned about terrorists lacing Halloween snacks with dangerous substances like ricin or weaponized anthrax. That is why I recommend that all children wear hazmat suits over their Halloween costumes. (The hazmat suits should, of course, also be covered in reflective tape so that they are clearly visible to oncoming cars.)
4. Parents should always accompany children while trick-or-treating, and in addition to hazmat suits, I recommend at least one parent carry a concealed firearm (something along the lines of a Kimber Pro Carry should do the trick in all but the worst neighborhoods).
5. Certain houses should be avoided altogether on Halloween. Ask yourself a few questions before you approach a neighbor's home. Does the house look a little run down? If so, move on to the next one. Can you pronounce the name written on the mailbox? If not, don't let "political correctness" interfere with the well-being of your children. Finally, any house with an Obama yard sign or rainbow flag should be avoided for obvious reasons.
So long as you follow these five simple rules, you and your kids are sure to have a safe, happy Halloween.