The fall season, where I grew up in Western Pennsylvania, brought a lot of superb things from the viewpoint of a child. There was the changing colors of the leaves, which I think I was aware of from a very early age; teachers would often build class projects around this.
There was the likelihood of going to a Steeler game, climbing up the stadium hill with my dad and uncles to watch the Steelers lose again. Professional games were affordable during my early childhood, and the Steelers were a perennial cellar team so there was no problem getting tickets.
There was the excitement of going hunting, even when one was too young to carry a gun. I never figured out that my uncles’ tactic of letting me run through the brush rows unchecked was the direct result of the fact that they didn’t have a dog.
There were buckeyes, which look like chestnuts but are inedible. You throw them at things.
Then there was Halloween. This was before slasher films, Michael Jackson zombies, or any of the grotesque things of that ilk. Costumes were, by their very nature, for children and were child friendly.
It was also before there was any concern attached to receiving candy or treats from strangers.
There may indeed have been the occasional psycho who would put a harmful object in treats for kids. I remember hearing about, maybe, one such incident every year. Some people, I remember very clearly, would not give treats to kids; those simply turned their lights off.
This column, like the column from last Sunday, deals in a roundabout way with the safety of our children. This writer tries to avoid thinking about, because it troubles me deeply, the people in our society who do not just dislike kids, and thus avoid them, but the demented ones who actively seek to harm or permit child abuse- whether it is tainted Halloween candy, or well, you fill in the blank. Many answers are possible.
For the sake of our very fabric as a society, it’s essential that we do all we can to ensure the safety of our children. Hats off to those organizations, church and otherwise, who are hosting “Trunk or Treat” parties. Please, let’s work to build a world where kids are safe and worry free.