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Ruining childhood

When I read the note about the protocol for my son's elementary school Halloween party, I cringed. It's not a Halloween party, it's a Fall Costume Parade. No face makeup. No weapons. No fake blood. Must be put on over regular clothes. No wearing it to school. Please do not send candy or chips. Bring a gently-used book or non-perishable food item to participate.

No, really. I'm not making it up. Even my liberal bleeding heart has limits. When did we stop letting kids enjoy childhood? At what point did we decide to suck the joy out of being a little kid? My childhood wasn't immune completely, but I also don't recall the level of hysteria we see these days.

And, granted, not 2 weeks ago someone tried to lure a little girl in my neighborhood into a van. But, honestly, I think we're just more aware in our modern society about crime, danger, and risks. I don't want my kids to grow up in a bubble. But I also don't want them to live in fear of crossing the street never leaving the house because of germs or chemicals or child kidnappers or whatever boogeymen we like to warn about.

If it's not the kids who don't celebrate, it's the kids with allergies or the fat kids or the kids whose parents want to avoid connections with unhealthy candy or violence and on and on. Personally, I see nothing wrong with letting my kid put on a zombie mask, eat a bunch of chocolate, and knock on a stranger's door for treats if the porch light is on and a thousand other kids are roaming the neighborhood doing the same thing.

As an adult, I wonder how some other adults operate in this big, scary world. What horrors must lurk around the next corner for the folks who converted elementary school Halloween parties into lifeless, generic celebrations of...fall? Now you're just being pagan. I'm sure that offends somebody, too.

Cole will be dressing up as Thomas...again. And Leda wants to be a cat...meow! Those are pretty tame. But we'll also probably let them come home and eat numerous pieces of whatever they haul in on Trick or Treat. Because that's what being a kid is all about.

I suppose my job as an adult is to worry. But, parents, if you brought your precious baby into being so you could shelter them and always have a sweet, innocent darling you have another thing coming. Eventually, you're going to have to kick them out into the real world. Oh, wait, parents don't even do that anymore...we let them move back home in the boomerang generation!

Ok, rant over. You little Dracula parents who suck all the life out of the young. Helicoptering your way to safety and better health. I'd say I hope one of mine tackles yours too hard on the sports field one day, but you probably don't let your kids play sports. Or chew. Maybe a liquid-only diet in case of choking?

Parents who want to have their kids experience things need to start a group. Maybe we can start with Halloween parties? Bob for apples. The kids wrap each other up as toilet paper mummies then eat some rice krispie treats made with tons and tons of real sugar. That's the way it used to be.

Then again, the kids these days probably are too lazy to say Trick or Treat at the door...don't even get me started.