By Megan Shuman
It’s Halloween. Skirting past the deeper meaning, and ignoring vehement arguments from disgruntled elders that it’s only a “Hallmark Holiday,” we can look at it through the eyes of the children. I’ll put it simply. Candy. Chocolate in bright wrappers, gummies shaped like eyes or ears or even snakes, lollipops, the one hopeful toothbrush. As if the only thing standing between the children and those nasty dental cavities are a plastic, bristled brush.
But, as we march on through the years, Halloween has gotten a bit scarier for all the wrong reasons. Not because our costumes or special effects have gotten a little too realistic for our own good. This article isn’t about the old horror stories that go bump in the night, it’s about the ones right around the corner.
If one looks up poisoned candy and the possible murders occurring as such, they would see they have been debunked as myths. Time magazine discussed in their 2009 article that the leading cause of death on Halloween isn’t the old razor in the apple trick. It’s motor vehicle accidents, one of the leading cause of deaths on every other day of the year. So why is Halloween so different?
Superstition definitely plays a large part in the stigma surrounding a holiday that was once from religious origins. The words pagan and demonic fly around, some playfully but many not. Just from witnessing a clerk pull the number 666 on the register and watching a customer refuse to pay the price until she changed it by buying another item, to me evidences the kind of world we live in. People get a little too worried about these so called ‘signs’, and react out of proportion.
What poses a legitimate threat? Nearly anything other than the grandiose myth of poisoned treats. Halloween is the perfect day for abduction. All it takes is a moment for a child to disappear. In costume, children are more difficult to recognize. Even if they are accompanied by an adult, things happen. I don’t care where you are or who you are with, they do. I live in a community full of retired adults, you wouldn’t have guessed they’d bust a meth lab in it. But I came home one night to see it, search dogs and all. You can’t predict the future, no matter what that jeweled up fortune teller says.
I don’t believe my children will ever get to go trick-or-treating as I did, even with the heavy precautions we took back then. Every piece of candy eaten when I was younger was inspected by an adult before it got anywhere near my mouth. Just in case. We were accompanied by three adults, no less. And we only went to specific parts of town, parts of town that I don’t think I can even trust anymore. Things have steadily been going downhill; drugs, financial issues, mental illness all running rampant in our state. I just don’t see it as a the smartest option available for children of the future. With the mall and many schools putting on trick-or-treats, stranger danger seems like an unnecessary risk to take.
Maybe my parents were too paranoid. Maybe I’m being too judgmental. Maybe I’m watching too many crime dramas. But I don’t trust people. And maybe it’s the over abundance of ghosts and goblins, masks and mockeries. But on Oct. 31, more than on any other day, things are never what they seem.