Childrearing

Halloween Panic: The Razor Blades And Pedophiles Are In Your Head

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Last year, for my first time ever, Halloween became a scary experience. Let me tell you my horrible tale.

On November 1, a horrified mother on my neighborhood list-serv notified everyone that an area couple had done the unthinkable. They had — it hurts me to even write the words — taken a picture. A picture of her daughter in costume.

I’ll give you a few minutes to compose yourselves after learning this horrible news.

The neighbor mom said she was too startled to do anything at the time but she started freaking out and talking about the violation and suggesting that something incredibly nefarious was going on. She identified the male member of the couple by name and block on our many-thousand-subscriber list-serv for parents in the hood. She went back to his house and tried to demand that he delete the picture from his camera. The startled man explained that his wife wasn’t home and she had the camera.

While a few parents on the list-serv commended her for freaking out (under the theory that one “can’t be too careful”), cooler heads prevailed. The list moderators explained that accusations of pedophilia without any substantiation whatsoever were not what the list was designed for.

What was so odd about the incident is that I had just taken my daughters trick-or-treating in a different state we were visiting and a couple of people whose houses we hit had taken pictures of cute costumes and such. It never occurred to me to freak out.

Also, for the life of me I still can’t figure out what harm was caused by the picture sharing. Did she think they’d share the frog princess (or whatever her daughter was dressed as) photo on the web? And what would happen even if they did? That people would deduce who the child was and where she lived somehow? I still can’t figure out what the harm is.

The fact is that Halloween panics are almost always stupid. Remember the epidemic of razor blades and cyanide in children’s candy? Well, guess how many actual cases of random poisoning have been documented? That’s right, zero.

So let your children out of the house. Don’t freak out if neighbor couples think they’re cute. And be more rational about your worries.

Image of Halloween woman via Shutterstock.