Happy Halloween! It's that time of year when your neighbors are secretly unwrapping candy, brushing lollipops with poison, and inserting razor blades into Snickers bars!
Actually, while it may be a holiday tradition view your neighbors as psychopaths who patiently wait for the one day of the year to kill the local kids, in fact no child has ever been killed by a stranger's poisoned candy. Ever. But facts don't stop fear. Here are three ways in which our misguided terror on Halloween is killing all the fun.
Don't Go Outside
Parents are so scared of letting their kids roam free, that—no joke—there's a trend called "Trunk or Treat." Cars gather in a circle and kids go from one trunk to the next to grab candy, as if walking in a circle in a parking lot and collecting sugar is the whole point of the holiday. Sugar is important, but so is going outside on your own with your friends.
Some towns are so scared of the holiday that they've placed curfews on trick or treating. It's medieval. It's as if they really believe the ghouls come out at night.
It's Too Scary
There are schools, churches, and community centers sending home notes begging parents not to let their kids wear costumes that are "too scary," as if kids can't handle an eyeball oozing blood anymore. One town even made a guy take down the zombie decorations in his front yard because they were too realistic. In other words…they looked too much like real zombies?
Sex Offender Hysteria
In some towns, registered sex offender have to turn off the lights to keep the trick or treaters away, or all gather together at the local precinct like some twisted version of study hall. The rules are different in different places. But they're all based on the idea that sex offenders pounce on trick or treaters. Which turns out to be, like the poison candy story, completely false.
A recent study by a researcher now at Johns Hopkins University found that there is zero increase in child sex offenses on Halloween. In fact, the author Elizabeth Letourneau considered titling the study, "Halloween: The Safest Day of the Year," because it is, when it comes to sex crimes.
There is one thing to fear on Halloween: cars. More kids get hit by cars on Halloween than any other day for obvious reasons. There are more kids outside. So if we really wanted to make the holiday safer we'd take the cops checking up on sex offenders and put them on traffic patrol instead, slowing down drivers, or helping kids across. That could save some lives. Because cars are actually dangerous, unlike slightly torn Snickers bars.
Written by Lenore Skenazy. Shot and edited by Jim Epstein. Graphics by Meredith Bragg.
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