Halloween preparations are in full swing here. As of last weekend, everyone's decorations are up; perfectly normal suburban houses have now been transformed into haunted mansions, complete with fake gravestones on the front lawns, ghosts dangling from porches and fake spider webs all over the shrubbery. Our drives around the neighbourhood are punctuated by 'spot the pumpkin' games and in addition we've seen large inflatable black cats and even what Littleboy 2 called a 'pumpkin snowman' on local front lawns. (You'll have to use your imagination here....I do intend to take some pictures this year, but am just working out a way to do it discreetly.)
If more proof were required that Halloween decorations are an integral part of life in the US, this morning The Doctor forwarded me part of the local weather forecast that he had seen online, warning about possibly winds this weekend. It reads 'Residents should take precautions at this time to protect property...such as Halloween decorations....that are susceptible to strong gusty winds'. In other words, expect smashing pumpkins and flying inflatable witches this weekend....
And, as if this weren't enough, I have just received a press release, warning me about the dangers of Halloween and offering injury prevention tips, from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, no less. Apparently, Halloween is 'among the top three holidays producing the most ER visits'. Injuries from Halloween are most likely to be finger/hand related ones (from all that pumpkin carving); and of course, jack o'lanterns are potential fire hazards.
Then there are those pesky Halloween costumes. The press release tells me that 'costumes should be flame retardant and fit properly' and that 'costumes that are too long could cause children to trip or fall'. (No shit, Sherlock).
Children should also apparently be wearing 'sturdy, comfortable, slip resistant shoes' when they go trick or treating.' (Presumably because this involves walking around, something that children almost never do in suburbia...).
Other trick or treating advice includes taking a flashlight, being aware of neighbourhood dogs, and that 'it's a good idea to carry a cellphone when trick or treating, in case of emergencies'.
Who knew that Halloween could be so dangerous? I'm spooked already......