Americas current climate of media-driven and anthrax-inspired fear provides perhaps the spookiest backdrop ever in which to observe Halloween.
Normally, Halloween scares are driven by ghoulish decorations and tall tales. But these are far from normal times. The terror attacks on Sept. 11, we repeatedly are told, changed everything - including Halloween.
Fortunately, the terror attacks didnt take away Americans Constitutionally guaranteed right to the pursuit of happiness - and for children, that includes trick-or-treating. All it takes to make the holiday a happy one is for parents to use plain common sense.
Various agencies, from MCG HealthCare to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, are offering tips on having a safe Halloween. Guess what? Theyre the same tips offered every other year - such as making sure children are visible while theyre out walking, sticking to known homes and neighborhoods, and having parents check all candy.
But there is one new wrinkle: Most hospitals this year are at last dropping the silly service in which they X-ray candy. Anthrax hysteria has made them realize, at last, the limitations of X-rays and exposed the false sense of security the service provided in the past.
The best tip for a safe Hall-oween, as always, is paren-tal involvement - accompanying trick-or-treating children and keeping tabs on mischievous teens. This is a bad year for pranks, but it is a good time to remind children that we can keep them safe.
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