Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Handle Those Halloween Hecklers

Below is an article I did a couple of years ago and it hasn't sold well to the regionals because it's so pissy and kooky. A New Jersey mag bought this last year and I was interviewed on a New York City radio station about it. Keep in mind this is a Pissy Post ... it's me ranting at nobody specific and just trying to get the message across that all parents are different and that doesn't make any of us bad necessarily (obviously unless you like, beat your kid or leave them home alone under the age of 7 or something!).

Oh, crap! What am I going to do on Halloween, what with my Weight Watchers status? I'll have to think that one out big-time because we have a church Trunk-or-Treat, a Boo at the Zoo, a Halloween homeschool party AND Halloween itself. EEK!

How to Handle Halloween Hecklers
By Kerrie McLoughlin

I know it’s not a holiday on par with the religious significance of Christmas or the historical importance of Memorial Day, but Halloween sure is a reason to celebrate in my house. This has a lot to do with the fact that I have a love affair with sugar, chocolate and any type of candy and have passed that on to my skinny kids. The sugar coupled with the opportunities for socialization for the kids and for me make this is the ultimate holiday. So why do Halloween hecklers want to spoil our fun? Over the years I’ve figured out how to handle all sorts of Halloween heckler tricks, and I’ll share these little knowledge treats with you …

The Costume Heckler
Guess what? If your child dresses up as a ghost it doesn’t mean he has suicidal tendencies as much as it means his mom simply used a sheet as a costume to save time, brainpower or money.

The Religious Heckler
Reassure religious naysayers that just because a kid dresses up as a skeleton or a devil (again with the costumes!) that he probably won’t grow up to be an undertaker or an atheist. I don’t know about YOUR kids, but mine are imps all year round; they don’t need Halloween as an excuse that some evil spirit is making them behave badly or will get into their head.

The Stranger Danger Heckler
To deal with these hecklers, you can share what Lenore Skenazy says in her book Free-Range Kids, “ … somehow, your nice, quiet neighbors – the ones you never got to know but somehow managed to live next to in peace and harmony the other 364 days of the year – have been waiting, like kids for Christmas, for this one day to murder local children.” Doubt it.

The Keep-Halloween-Out-of-Our-Schools Heckler
Can’t wait for the hate mail on this one, but my take is that if you don’t want your child to dress up or participate at school for any Halloween festivities, keep her home.

The Begging-Is-Rude Heckler
Oh, come on! My kids don’t BEG, they say, “Trick or Treat” and then politely thank their candy pushers. They also make the requisite small talk, if necessary. If people don’t want kids “begging” at their door, they either leave their house or turn out all the lights in it. The people with their porch light on leave it on because they WELCOME children at their door and WANT to hand out candy.

The Weather Heckler
These are the people who think your kid will catch cold and die, especially if she goes out trick-or-treating in the cold with … wet hair! Newsflash! Going to the mall doesn’t get you into the trenches of Halloween. You gotta experience the drizzle, the cold, the dark, the whole mood, even if you just go to one house!

The Sugar-is-Bad Heckler
Seriously? Last time I checked, I could eat 3,500 calories of pure sugar or 3,500 calories of organic sweet potato and it’s still … one entire pound of fat on my body if I don’t work it off. Listen up: sugar isn’t crack, and it isn’t akin to cigarettes or alcohol, either. Yes, some parents let their child pig in Halloween candy until it’s gone (guilty!), but some use common sense and dole it out a few pieces a day and then pitch the rest.

The Razor-Blades-In-Apples Heckler
Lenore Skenazy writes about a professor of sociology and criminal justice at the University of Delaware named Joel Best, who studied Halloween crime reports from 1958 on and said, “The bottom line is that I cannot find any evidence that any child has ever been killed or seriously hurt by a contaminated treat picked up in the course or trick-or-treating.” Pitch the homemade treats if you must (does anyone still even make those?), and then just check over the wrapped candy for needle holes, you paranoid parent (guilty again!).

I’ve gone trick-or-treating in the pouring rain, in the freezing cold, while eight months pregnant, with a newborn baby, with a severe ear infection, you name it. Bring it on, hecklers! Nothing’s gonna keep me away from celebrating THIS sugar holiday with my brood. Now who’s with me?!

Kerrie McLoughlin is the semi-sweet mom of 5 sweet kids and blogs at

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