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by Ronald A. Rowe | October 11th, 2013 | Safety, Tweens

vampire girlHalloween is a time for scary tales of headless horsemen, reanimated corpses, and blood sucking monsters. Those stories are meant to be taken with a grain of salt and all in good fun. But some of the terrors of Halloween are all too real. And our tweens, with their burgeoning sense of freedom and un-dampened sense of invulnerability, are especially susceptible to the real-life dangers of All-Hallows Eve.

I’m not talking about the stuff of urban legends, like razor blades in the apples or LSD on the popcorn balls. Those things, even though they have yet to be documented in real life, are still pretty scary. All it would take is one psychopath inspired by the legend to make it a reality. But so far these horrors are just hypothetical so we won’t discuss them any further here.

Several recent, localized studies have shown that Halloween brings about abnormally high crime rates, especially the dreaded category of “serious violent crimes” (a category consisting of homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault). Some major cities have reported serious violent crime rates double the daily average on Halloween. Not only is Halloween the single most crime-ridden day of the entire year, the crime rate on October 31 is so astronomical that in some cities it can be as much as 50% higher than the second worst day of the year.

To make matters worse, a study of the Halloween crime spree in Boston showed that these crimes spike far earlier in the evening that one would expect. The old adage “nothing good happens after midnight” holds true, but on Halloween it looks like some very bad things start happening far earlier. On this one day a year, more serious violent crimes are committed between 7:00 and 8:00 PM than any other period throughout the day or night. To put that very bluntly — we’re sending our tweens out, largely unsupervised, to wander up to the homes of strangers at a time that is statistically more dangerous than if we rolled them out on the street at 2 AM.

So what can we do? Relegate our tweens to trick or treating with the preschoolers at 4 pm? Or keep them in the house and skip the candy collection altogether? We could, but there are far better alternatives.

By putting certain safety protocols and strict time limits on our children’s Halloween activities, we can limit the risk associated with the holiday. Traveling in groups is a must. So is a previously agreed-upon flight plan. Even if Susie is now too cool to hang out with mom on Halloween, you can take some comfort in the fact that she is traveling a pre-determined route with a gaggle of her peers. Hosting a Halloween party at your home at a strategic time can keep your child close to home and safe while still avoiding the indignity of a — gasp — early curfew.

Frightening sights and sounds are an integral part of the Halloween fun. We just need to ensure that the scary stuff is all of the pretend variety.

Happy Hallo-Tween!

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