Wednesday 12 December 2018

Amanda Brunker: 'Sadly, some kids will not enjoy tomorrow night'

Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin
Amanda Brunker with her sons L to R: Setanta (8) and Edward (9) McLaughlin

Why does everyone say Happy Halloween? What’s so great about it? It’s a horrible holiday and for most of us, a terrifying night that spooks us for weeks before the actual event and leaves us traumatised for weeks after.

My apologies. I’m on a rant. I’ve always hated Halloween, always will.

Okay, so the kids get some time off school which is great, and yes, they get to eat loads more junk than they normally would, but it is a scary tradition that I feel causes more hurt and damage than joy. After all, it’s just a manufactured holiday designed to make us spend money — why have we ended up so enthralled with it? Do we have to do everything the Americans do?

When I was growing up, there was none of this trick-or-treat nonsense. Tomorrow, all the kids will shout ‘trick or treat’ when they arrive at my door, but all they’re looking for is sweets; they wouldn’t have a clue what to do if I offered to perform a cheesy card trick for them. I’d probably get a brick through my window.

Back in the grim old days, I used to call around houses by myself asking neighbours to help the Halloween party. I would then go home and eat the five penny sweets, 10 apples, 12 oranges and countless monkey nuts on my own. That sort of messing couldn’t happen today. You’d probably get sued for handing out nuts now — that’s a legal case just waiting to drop. Word of advice: don’t let it be you that gets caught.

Aside from planning the kids’ costumes, carving the pumpkins and spending your mortgage on sweets, have you made a Halloween plan? What I mean is: do you know where your kids will be at all times?

And if they are going somewhere without you, will they be near any potential dangers such as bonfires or fireworks?

The thing is, apart from the obvious worries — like bangers blowing off fingers and missiles, such as aerosol cans, exploding out of fires — there are plenty more nasties lurking about... and I’m not being superstitious and talking about old souls.

Every year, kids get knocked down crossing roads, and if that’s not bad enough, my biggest fear lies with a kid, anyone’s child, being abducted or abused by a stranger walking the streets. Predators with or without face masks can easily get lost among the crowds that will be out. Feel like locking your children up tomorrow night, yet? Ha! I know I do.

Alright, so I’m highlighting all the worst-case scenarios. The majority of children will have a wonderful experience of Halloween, but sadly, some kids will not enjoy tomorrow night. And in most cases, accidents happen to those not being supervised.

Another big Halloween worry is to do with your pets: despite all the warnings, so many people don’t take them inside during the madness. And even if they are inside, do your kids know not to let them escape when they open the door to visitors?

I know, I’m killing all the joy. Halloween is a time to let loose and relish a bit of silly fun with your kids, which I hope everyone does.

I just also hope that families make a plan and stay safe.

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