Halloween festivities fun for everyone

Freedom New Mexico

ParentDish.com advises that one of the “cool” candies to hand out this Halloween is white chocolate skulls filled with gummy worms. Call us old-fashioned, but we’ll take the Fun Size Snickers bar and be content.

Halloween as we know it today was derived from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), “when it was believed the ghosts of the dead returned to earth,” according to history.com.

“In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day … It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. … The night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.”

Trick-or-treating evolved from English traditions of All Souls’ Day, when the poor would go house-to-house begging for food in exchange for prayers for the families’ deceased relatives.

Despite the trying economic times, Halloween is hotter than ever. An Oct. 22 report in Time magazine noted that over the past four years, Halloween sales have increased more than 48 percent. The holiday has such revenue-generating power that Steven Silverstein, the president of shopping mall staple Spencer Gifts, told the National Retail Federation that his company advocates moving Halloween to the last Saturday in October, saying, “revenues have ticked up by as much as 30 percent when the holiday falls on a weekend versus a weekday.”

Certainly, Halloween is not for everyone. Many local churches eschew the holiday for its pagan origins and dark themes, and offer “fall festival” events as an alternative.

But for many children and adults, Halloween is a day of escapism and, frankly, candy hoarding. We encourage parents of children who will be trick-or-treating to follow these tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

• Decorate or trim costumes with reflective tape that will glow in the beam of a car’s headlights.

• Costumes should be short enough to prevent children from tripping and falling.

• Apply a natural mask of cosmetics rather than have a child wear a loose-fitting mask that might restrict breathing or obscure vision.

If you will be driving during trick-or-treat hours, reduce your speed and increase your awareness of what is around you.

And for those who think kids get more than enough sweets and don’t want to contribute to childhood obesity and dental bills, holidays.net suggests handing out Halloween-themed stickers, temporary tattoos or pencils.

But if you are going to hand out those Snickers bars, feel free to let us know …