EDITORIAL: Old haunts

Halloween offers us a chance to create memories with kids

Most of us have at least one good memory of Halloween: a favorite costume, recollections of who gave out the best candy — or the worst — or scary stories that friends or family members told to frighten the younger children. Some of us now pass those tales along to future generations by relating them to our children, nieces and nephews.

These are memories that people never outgrow, and they provide a reminder for those who no longer beg for candy that they can help create lasting memories for those who still do.

Certainly, some people never outgrow the day, especially along the border where the Dia de los Muertos retains a strong cultural significance. Many still enjoy decorating their homes and helping their children pick out or make their own costumes. But some instead see the day as more of a nuisance; they spend money on costumes that will be worn once and candy that others will eat, they have to dodge trickor- treaters on the way home from work and they worry about pranks that might have been fun when they did them, but not so much now that they’re adults and have to clean up the mess.

Also, many people say it’s not the same as when they were young, that the streets aren’t as safe as they once were. They might not realize that their own parents had the same concerns back in the day. Those fears have progressed from worries about razor blades in apples to needles in candy bars and later to drugs laced into the treats. Fortunately, for most people those fears never were realized.

In addition, many local businesses and organizations address those concerns. Shops and malls invite children to one-stop trick-or-treating events. Churches and community groups hold Halloween or Dia de los Muertos-themed parties that entertain children and remove them from the dangers of walking the streets searching for candy.

And of course, the displeasure sometimes goes both ways. Many children show, or at least feign, embarrassment if their parents display a little too much enthusiasm for the holiday, donning their own costumes and adopting the mannerisms of the characters they portray.

Years later, however, those moments likely will become fond memories that parents and grandparents will recount as they watch the next generations prepare for their own candy runs.

Therefore we encourage parents and other caretakers to remember those days when we enjoyed going door to door begging for candy, eyeballing other characters and comparing costumes, comparing hauls afterward to see who got the best candy and pledging to remember who gave it so we’d be sure to visit the same place next year. Those are the memories today’s children are building right now, and with our help they can be better.

Perhaps more importantly, your presence will help ensure the children’s safety, and ease the parents’ concerns about their welfare.

So take the time to be a part of your children’s Halloween festivities. They’ll remember it for a long time.