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Halloween should be happy for little ones

It’s that time of year when corn mazes, haunted houses and pumpkin patches can be found on every block. And every child’s eyes light up at the prospect of bags full of Halloween candy.

Halloween is a holiday for the kid in all of us, but it is not necessarily all for the kids.

Don’t take me wrong. There is a lot of fun to be had in the next two and one-half weeks. However, I think we need to remember that we share this world with innocent children who just might be getting the socks scared off of their precious little feet.

I grew up in a world where Halloween was lots of G-rated fun, but over the last few years it really has taken a violent and gruesome turn from a cheerful Casper, and smiling Jack O Lanterns.

I learned that the hard way.

Taking a teenage relative to a haunted house seemed like the responsible thing to do until I noticed her friends had brought along some little brothers and sisters. They assured me that the little ones would be fine, but when a head rolled across the floor and bounced off our feet it was more than enough for this grown up. I saw the panic in the children’s eyes, grabbed their little hands and headed for the nearest exit.

The screaming children and I took refuge in the yard only to discover there were ”bodies” and “ghosts” hanging over us. I know we resembled Abbot and Costello trying to get out of that yard. I laugh now but I’ve often wondered if those kids, now grown up, still sleep with the light on.

A few years later when we lived in another state, I checked before taking one of our daughters on a haunted hay ride. Our neighbors said it wasn’t scary at all, so I gave in to her begging. Halfway through the ride, I wanted to kick myself. Our daughter had I nightmares from it for years. And so, I’m sure, did those monsters with the chainsaws who were hiding behind the wagon exactly where she had to throw up. Not a good evening for any of us.

If you have a little one, a child, grandchild or niece or nephew, please be sure to find out exactly how scary some of these events are before you agree to let them go. It’s hard to make the perfect decision, but only you can decide what will entertain, or upset your child.

There are plenty of downright scary places, with creative haunts, and gruesome endings to keep all the older teens and adventurous adults happy.

But luckily, from what I see in this area, we also have quite a few G-rated and PG-rated attractions that should keep most of the kiddos quite entertained without scaring the socks off of them. In addition to those, many of our churches and civic organizations have trunk or treat, costume contests for pets, open houses, or even Halloween themed fun runs that would make most elementary aged children quite happy. After all, getting all fixed up a costume is half the fun.

And while we are talking about costumes, let the little ones have fun with their costume. They don’t have to be covered with blood or be scary. I love opening the door to give treats to pirates, princesses, football players, bears, ballerinas, robots, or E.T. I love the superheroes. It gives them a chance to feel strong and fearless. The world needs more superheroes.

This Halloween let’s let the little ones have fun without fears. There will be plenty of time later in life to face the scary things and the real monsters in this world.

And, at the end of the day after the kids have gone to bed, if you want a scare, just pull out the bottom drawer of your refrigerator and take a look underneath it, or turn on the evening news.

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