I have a confession. The first time I went Trick or Treating, I was 8. I went with my cousins in North St. Louis city. Even in retrospect, I wasn’t as scared as I probably should have been.
And after that, I never went again. And never really had the desire to go! My mom’s favorite holiday was Christmas, so Halloween was a speed bump for her! For me, even as kid it was a time of dress up, to become someone else. Even now, it still is. As a writer, Halloween is one of those days where being someone else, wanting to be someone else is encouraged!
As a mother, writer and Mama Bear, I don’t take my kids trick or treating. I’ve literally taken them 3 times. Always in public places, always with a group of adults, and never been past 8 or 9 PM.
My children mean so much to me. I saw how great a time they had Trick or Treating. But I also how the world changed as they grew. More mass shootings. Less gun regulation. And the day of the Sandy Hook shooting (December 14, 2012)? I had a kindergartener.
My oldest child was in kindergarten.
It was then, right then, where I decided I wasn’t taking them out Trick-or-Treating anymore. It wasn’t a matter of getting off work, or getting costumes. I stopped taking them Trick-or-Treating…because I didn’t think I could protect them.
This was also after the shooting in Aurora, CO movie theater shooting—during the premiere of The Dark Knight. I didn’t go to a movie theatre for about 2 years.
And didn’t take my children.
The girls still dress up, they still do fall activities (we do Boo At The St. Louis Zoo), but Treat-or-Treating? No. Their father takes them to other Halloween events. Only tradition we do with them is watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
The kids don’t ask about dressing up or going candy begging. I leave that to their biological father and his nature towards selfishness. But as for me? No. It’s hard to look your excited child in the face to tell them, “I can’t take you Trick-or-Treating because I cannot be your Mama if someone shoots me and I bleed out. And you can’t tie a tourniquet.”
Kids don’t process mortality well.