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Hallowe’en: the Safest Day of the Year

Hallowe’en is one of my favorite holidays — it is the one day you get to pretend. But some people use Hallowe’en as an excuse for “parental paranoia”.

For example, if you are a parent, are you worried that some stranger is going to give your child candy with poison or razor blades in it?

Relax. There has never been even a single case of any child being killed by a stranger’s Hallowe’en candy. It has never happened. And yet, people are still afraid of it.

Another example. Some cities and states are passing laws preventing registered sex offenders from even turning on their lights for trick-or-treaters on Hallowe’en, but “there is zero evidence to support the idea that Halloween is a dangerous date for children in terms of child molestation.”

And there are a whole Hallowe’en bag full of other things to be scared of in addition to poison candy and neighborhood pedophiles, such as costumes that restrict breathing, masks that obscure vision, and costumes that can cause tripping and falls. Some places don’t even allow trick-or-treating anymore, instead having adult-supervised parties that guarantee that kids have no chance of encountering anything even remotely dangerous, or even scary.

But a study of crime statistics from 30 states found that, at least statistically, children are actually safer than normal on Hallowe’en. In fact, the author of the study said “We almost called this paper, ‘Halloween: The Safest Day of the Year,’ because it was just so incredibly rare to see anything happen on that day.”

Why? Perhaps it is because it is the one day of the year when we actually go around and meet our neighbors and maybe even talk to them. It is the one day when your typical subdivision turns into an actual community. And maybe, just maybe, it is sense of community that keeps our children safe, rather than paranoia.

© Lalo Alcaraz



  1. “Perhaps it is because it is the one day of the year when we actually go around and meet our neighbors and maybe even talk to them.”–Iron Knee


    We keep hearing about people “wanting their country back.” Ok, ok: though the kind of country I want “back” is not the kind that such people usually promote.

    But what about simply wanting our communities back? When I moved as a girl, the neighbors would come over with offers of help or with meals. Where I went to college (small town) people noticed my daily evening walks through the town, and even plan on them. (I skipped my walks for two weeks around midterms, and a Prof I didn’t know found me just to ask if I was ok.)

    Yeah, I want my community back.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 4:01 am | Permalink
  2. Chelsey wrote:

    I agree. It makes perfect sense that children would be safer on Halloween than any day of the year.

    What bothered me about the sex offender thing was that they didn’t distinguish between statutory sex offenders and…all the other ones. Being a sex offender doesn’t mean you’re interested in touching children (and then you have those who are listed as sex offenders because some teenager told a guy he was 18, willingly slept with him, and then accused him of rape later–that has happened more than once in my little town). Now, I’m just justifying being a sexual predator, but it seems that they should differentiate here.

    Also, if the government doesn’t think a sex offender they have let out of jail is safe enough to leave their house on Halloween, then maybe they shouldn’t have been let out of jail in the first place.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 8:57 am | Permalink
  3. BTN wrote:

    Thought Dancer,
    Professor checking up on a student that has been missing his/her class: thoughtful.

    Professor checking up on a student that has been missing a daily walk: creepy.

    There have been studies shown that a lot of sexual predators can never be cured. However, our society doesn’t put people in jail for what they “may” do (Minority Report, anyone?), thus the dilemma.

    I do agree that not all sex offenders are equal, but where do you draw the line? You would almost have to go case by case.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 11:30 am | Permalink
  4. Brandon wrote:

    Maybe Holloween is so safe BECAUSE we’re so paranoid about protecting children?

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink
  5. BTN wrote:

    Also, that Rand Paul supporter clearly deserves jail time.

    Having said that, I’ve seen the video, and I think “head stomp” is a bit of an exagerration. Compare it to what happened during the civil rights movement…

    It is also worth noting:
    1) In the video, you can clearly hear someone saying: “No, no, no, no, no c’mon.” right after the “stomping.”
    2) That the Rand Paul campaign, “has disassociated itself from the volunteer who took part in this incident” the day after the incident.

    So let’s not assume that every Rand Paul supporter is a thug like this guy.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink
  6. BTN: Not creepy at all. This was a college of 500 students, all women. The town was about 500 people (most were locals, some worked at the college: the rest of the people working at the college lived in Ithaca or Auburn, about 30 minutes away).

    For over a century that little town watched out for the students, both giving protection and freedom, based on how we acted. No, in a community of 1000, where everyone knows each other, it’s not creepy at all to find someone checking in on someone else.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  7. patriotsgt wrote:

    I think the other reason (and a nice one)that Halloween is safe is all the parents walking the streets with their children, meeting and greeting neighbbors. Yep, halloween is definately a great day. Sorry to cut this short, but it’s time to get ready for trick or treating….

    Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink
  8. Bert wrote:

    Not dangerous? Every adult in the country conspires to rot the teeth of our youth while simultaneously helping to increase the overweight problem of children.

    And I love it!!! Bwa-ha-haaa!!!

    Monday, November 1, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    You have an excellent point, Bert!

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink