Ileen Plew

October 25, 2010
With the arrival of autumn comes the annual October 31st observation of Halloween. Haunted houses will suddenly appear out of nowhere, aimed at scaring the daylights out of anyone brave enough to enter them, and every other corn field will have a maze in it. But for many parents as the holiday approaches, their worst nightmares will be brought to the forefront of their minds. The nightmares parents have of crazed sex offenders snatching up their unsuspecting ghosts and goblins while they gleefully beg for candy. The nightmares of poisoned candy, and razor blade laced apples.
Although Halloween has changed drastically over the years, for most children this is one of the holidays that they look forward to the most; it ranks right up there with Easter, Fourth of July and Christmas. The prospect of dressing up in whatever costume strikes their fancy, and being allowed to go begging for candy is something that most children would like to do more than just once a year. Parents however, having shed their youthful innocence can find Halloween to be a time of stress and worry, with dangers both real and imagined lurking around every corner.
Unfortunately, the days of children running with reckless abandon from house to house without supervision, are gone. Now, you are more likely to see parents tagging along than in years past, although this wasn’t always the case. I remember as a child growing up in the inner city; once I reached the age of eight or nine, I was on my own. My friends and I would roam the neighborhood for hours in the dark while our parents stayed home to hand out candy to the rest of the neighborhood kids. Frankly, we never gave this insanity a second thought, and neither did our parents. But, as the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end.”  
I remember when Halloween changed in my neighborhood. The date was August 12, 1984, when my fellow class mate and friend Eugene Martin, disappeared from his...