Trick or Treat...Let's avoid the Tricks

October 31, 2013

Halloween is a fun time for everybody...well most of the times. The lucky ones only see the kids in cute costumes who come door to door screaming "Trick or Treat" as if their lives depended on it. Some of them have become completely immersed into their costume character that they will try to act the part as they demand candy. The tradition has changed quite a bit these days. Kids are no longer out and about past 9PM due to curfews placed by some towns, with the occasional stragglers dragging their pillowcases in an effort to go home. To a certain degree, some of us have completely forgotten the "trick" factor from "trick or treat."

Some of them look like this

Unfortunately, it's not always fun and games though. I've heard of cases where little kids have been bullied by older kids for candy, or where some kids have been beaten up by others behind masks. Cars have been scratched up, houses were toilet papered, and eggs have covered the doors of many. It was a well known statistic that sales for eggs, toilet papers, and shaving cream had drastic increases in sales during Halloween. The power of hiding behind a mask has made it that much easier for people to do what they feel like doing without facing the consequences. Safety can become quite an issue. So what can we do to avoid the "Tricks?" To a certain degree they seem unavoidable; almost inevitable. We can't possibly have a police officer stand at every single house monitoring the night. It really comes down to our own endeavors in stopping, or preventing, such a thing from happening. Let's address the issue for the children first. 1. It's always better to travel in groups. A lone child is definitely more prone to becoming targets of bullying or anything of that sort while trick-or-treating at night. 2. If you feel the child is too young to go with his/her friends, parents should be going with their children. If a parent isn't available, find one of your child's friends and ask his/her parents to accompany them during their night of collecting candy. Tiring? Yes, but definitely beats having to worry all night. 3. Set a time limit. Some towns and counties have enforced a curfew for children who will be partaking in the festivities of Halloween, but there are still some that don't. Of course, there are also the children who don't really care about the curfew. Set your own curfew. Make sure they are home by that time and that is that. No questions asked. Now for your house. Do you want to see this?

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Or this?

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I'm gonna go ahead and assume your answer is NO.

Behind the mask, people feel empowered to do anything they want. They believe that since no one will know, their acts of vandalism will go unpunished, but there are a few ways you can deter such thinking.

1. Install cameras that are clearly visible on your front lawn and garage. Basically, make it known that you have cameras.

2. Install Flood lights. The clear visibility of their actions is sometimes more than enough to scare these pranksters away.

3. Call the police station and request that they circle the block a few times during mischief night and Halloween. If they make it known that police officers will be in the nearby area, tricksters may be too scared to even try anything.

4. *Only if you have a dog* Keeping a big dog or even a small one outside during these nights may be more than enough. The incessant barking is a better alarm than some alarm systems. Big dogs will keep kids away just by the thought of possibly getting bit.

5. Form a neighborhood watch for these nights specifically. The mere presence of people is enough to make these kids run for their lives.

6. **Drastic Measure** It's Halloween. Stay outside and scare the pants off of anyone that comes by holding anything that could mean disaster for your house and properties. I used to sit outside my house by my car with a bat.

Those are just a few tips that I've gathered over the years in preventing the "trick" portion of Halloween. What have you done so far that has been effective?




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