If you were thinking of dressing your kid like a pirate, handing him a foil sword, and sending him to school with a bag full of Twix, you'd better pencil in some time for a talk with the principal. Here are the Halloween guidelines from a school somewhere in the U.S. (The mom who forwarded them asked me not to name it, to protect the guilty, obsessive-compulsive killjoys.) The note begins:
Halloween is an exciting time for children and is always a special day at [redacted]. To ensure that we are not shortchanging our academic time, we have found it helpful to modify our day.
How dare the school shortchange academics one day a year!
As you plan your child's Halloween costume, you must consider the district's Zero Tolerance Policy. Imitation weapons, no matter how benign, are not allowed—this includes things like neon-colored guns, plastic swords/lightsabers, and rubber knives…. This measure reflects the district's commitment to the "Zero Tolerance for Guns Act" from the Safe Schools Initiative.
Actually, it seems to reflect the school's Zero Tolerance for Fantasy Act.
It is recommended that food and beverages provided by parents to be shared with classmates comply with the dietary standards listed below. Foods of minimal nutritional value cannot be distributed.
*Snacks and beverages shall contain no more than 8 grams of total fat, no more than 2 grams saturated fat, and no more than .5 grams of trans fat.
*Beverages limited to 100% juice, milk or water.
*Whole milk in 8 oz container.
SAFETY TIPS FOR HALLOWEEN
We will be having a Halloween safety assembly with a member of our  police department.
And there you have it: perhaps the scariest Halloween on record, because it synthesizes every terrible trend in American kiddie culture to date. 1). Believing that there is a link between make believe and violence. (Really, how many Halloween pirates go on to commit terror on the high seas?) 2). Believing the way to keep kids healthy is to obsess about every gram of fat they ingest. 3). Thinking that one day of crazy sugar fun is somehow going to set kids on the road to ruin, physically, morally, and nutritionally. 4). Pretending that one day of academic disruption will have any impact whatsoever on the kids' education. 5). Calling in the authorities to teach kids how to enjoy a holiday that kids have enjoyed for generations without a safety assembly beforehand.
As for the mom who sent me this note, she says: "I'm all for healthy foods & snacks, but we're talking Halloween here! Isn't the point of Halloween eating candy with "minimal nutritional value"? And would anyone keel over if they drank 10 oz of whole milk (God forbid)?"
They might—if they weren't already dead from a fatal foil sword wound.