Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Protect Yourself from the Evil that People Do on Halloween

Most people treat the day before Halloween and Halloween as just another day, but just because you don’t celebrate it doesn’t mean that others won’t force you to participate anyway. Halloween has always been the holiday that excuses pranks and jokes, promotes acceptance of treats from strangers, encourages people to be something other than themselves, and demonstrates that being scared or scaring other people, acting bizarre (such as disrespecting the burial plots of loved ones,) and other similar behaviors is totally acceptable. So what do you do to at least alleviate, notice I didn’t say eliminate, some of the stress you may or may not encounter before, during, and after the Halloween holiday?

Protect your car.

You may have been accustomed to parking in front of your house, not locking doors or rolling up windows, leaving valuables in the car, or forgetting to use a car cover, you will need to write yourself a reminder or tell someone in the family to do these things in case you forget. If you start getting in the habit now, you won’t forget by the time the holiday arrives.

Double check that doors and windows of your home are locked.

Even nowadays with all the crime in the world, people will still leave doors and windows unlocked. Burglars or neighborhood children looking to play a prank will take advantage of any opportunity to get what they want, so be your own security patrol officer and test knobs, locks, attempt to lift windows, and buy any additional safety locks for sliding glass doors and low level windows. If you can afford it, purchase block glass windows for your basement.

Anything that you have always kept outdoors that may be worth anything, lock it up.

People will leave expensive items such as motorcycles on porches and low-level balconies and think no one will steal them. Others may have kept collectible pottery and statues, old parts to cars, tools, even recyclables that people can obtain money for and think nothing of it. Halloween is a great time for thieves to pose as parents to observe what’s around your house.

Take candy to the children, don’t invite them in.

This will keep you safe and them. You don’t want to be mistakenly accused of bothering a child, so don’t even let them in. Children will be visiting numerous houses Halloween night and it is very easy to confuse one house from another, “It was that man with the pumpkin in the Halloween that bothered me.” So you may be the unfortunate one being pointed out. Meanwhile, another man had a similar pumpkin in his hallway too, and it turns out that he was the one, not you.

Parents aren’t always the ones taking their children Trick or Treating either, sometimes their troublemaking relatives are accompanying them. This relative might be using this as an opportunity to check out your house and will follow the child into your home. Don’t invite anyone in, leave the candy outside or sit in front of your house dressed in a costume (with your doors locked if it makes you feel comfortable.)

Don’t keep valuables in office drawers, closets.

Everyone has a few people they work with who enjoy playing jokes. You also have those who are strapped for cash too. Halloween is a great time for some jealous thieves to start accumulating money and “free” items for the upcoming holidays, then blame it on someone else. At workplaces inundated with children, it is very easy to blame them, so don’t take more than you need to work, deposit checks as soon as you can leave the office, and never store anything at work or use collectible treasures (such as a rare numbered Halloween knickknack) to decorate your workspace.

Avoid letting your children go to haunted houses unless you plan to accompany them.

This is a great place for troublemakers. Would you trust your child in a room with a stranger with the lights cut off?

Take your children to well-lit neighborhoods to Trick or Treat.

Some neighborhoods have too many trees, bushes, alleyways, and other places that any mischievous person or animal can hide. Some communities don’t have any street lights that work or not enough for them. Contact your local city hall to find out which department is responsible for street light repair in your neighborhood.

Inspect treats to see if they have been opened and then resealed.

Over the years the media has reported stories where someone opened candy, tampered with it, and then sealed it back. You will have to check closely by opening the entire contents and checking to see that the packaging is consistent in color and smell. Also, check the dates on treats and throw out the expired ones. Most likely, they are stale anyway.

Throw away any opened or homemade treats.

As inexpensive as candy is nowadays, some people will still insist on baking treats. Not everyone’s household is sanitary, nor does everyone wash their hands while they cook or keep pets out the kitchen. Save yourself a moment of possible disgust by finding something you rather not in the treat and just throw it away! As for opened items, would you buy it in the store if it were open?

Prepare your child for the ugly, gory costumes and masks BEFORE you take them out.

Why would anyone take their child out amongst some of the ugliest sites known to mankind and think their child won’t become frightened or later have nightmares? If your child knows the difference between what is scary and what is not and you have already noticed that he or she manages their fear well? Then by all means, but if you know that he or she scares easily, save yourself a crying storm of tantrums and a headache and leave him or her at home!

Don’t entrust your child in the care of older children on Halloween night.

There are some great babysitters who can handle responsibilities given to them well and then there are those who can’t. If your child is having a temper tantrum in the middle of the street with a Tween or Teen who isn’t use to him or her, they may walk on down the street with your child trailing behind them. This isn’t good, if say, a car is coming down a street; he or she is trying to cross?

Keep your pets indoors.

Just as there are those people who believe in God, there are those who believe in many gods. Sacrifices happen all the time during this time of year. If you love your pet, keep him or her indoors.

Stay up later than normal the day before and the day of Halloween.

Local police and private investigators will tell you approximately what time most mischief happens in your neighborhood. They also know whether the rate of Halloween mischief increases or decreases during this time of year in your community. Contact your local police or conduct a quick search on the Internet for more information.

If you own property, visit it or have someone check it out.

You would be surprised at how long people will stay away from their property and never check it out. Neighborhood children usually know whose house is being used as the crack house, the party house or the whore house. Protect your own property, look out for your neighbors, keep your eyes open to any suspicious activity and report it.

Observe your surroundings.

You may be walking to your car, driving from an event or doing something else, unaware that someone is following you. Always look around and make eye contact with anyone that you find is looking at you. Go to a public place and call the police if you find a single person or group of individuals are following you or making you feel uncomfortable. Never confront them. You don’t know what their mental state of mind maybe or if they have a weapon on them. Not only that, you don’t want to be at fault for pulling out a weapon of your own.

Avoid parties where drinking and drugs are involved.

So many people often fall into the trap of a few hours of fun that for some ends up being a life altering tragedy. As we see in the media, people are negatively impacted, jailed, raped, beaten, or worse murdered, because someone is out of control. If you must drink and/or do drugs, stay off the road or designate someone to take you home.

Halloween can be a great holiday in a controlled environment for many who like to celebrate. However, it can be a nightmare for people who don’t take necessary precautions despite the holiday. Protect yourself by taking heed to the warnings this holiday and throughout your life.

By Nicholl McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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