Halloween parade will no longer toss candy, for fear of injuring children

Halloween parade
CC BY 2.0 HarshLight

The safety paranoia is reaching absurd levels.

The infuriating attacks on childhood fun continue. The mayor of Chester County, Pennsylvania, has just announced that the town's annual Halloween parade will no longer throw candy from floats to children on the street for fear of injury. The Daily Local cites Parks and Recreation director, Keith Kurowski, who said that children were "overly aggressive getting to the freebies."

"Kurowski was fearful that one of about 25 parade floats might injure an unattended child, or a marching band member with a flag or mock rifle might mistakenly strike a youngster."

Instead, candy will be handed out at four distribution centers along the way, which means children "won't have to struggle with other children who are trying to get the same thing." Kurowski sees this as being proactive, rather than reactive.

I see it as downright boring. After all, isn't diving for candy and competing with your sibling for the biggest haul part of the fun? Who hasn't spread out their Halloween candy stash to gloat and negotiate emotionally-charged trades with family members?

Not surprisingly, Lenore Skenazy of the Free Range Kids blog is all over this story. Writing for Reason, she points out the absurdity of fearing marching bands and flying confectionery:

"Yes, those marching bands are vicious. You see a majorette with a flag? Run! There's nothing they like better than to 'mistakenly' (wink wink) strike a youngster. Happens all the time. Then the euphonium plays really loud, so you can't hear the screams."

Ironically, the mayor of Chester County assures that the candy distribution centers will guarantee "more sweets than [our children] can eat" -- as if that's no cause for concern! As a parent, I prefer the mad rush for candy because it makes it harder for my kids to collect as much, and any marching band-inflicted injury would only make them prouder of their haul.

These sorts of absurd pro-safety admonishments are getting very tiring, especially when they're based on no facts at all. I would hazard a guess that more children in the U.S. suffer each year from the consequences of excessive candy intake (either in the form of choking or long-term chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes) and from the large moving vehicles that feature in most parades than they do from Halloween candy injuries. It's time that adults started making decisions based on what's actually happening and hurting our kids -- not just some invented fear of what could go wrong.

Tags: Holidays | Kids

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