How to Keep From Going Bump in the Night

At the end of every October, as breath becomes visible and trees find themselves bare, the rare opportunity for children to dance freely in the night is brought on by the magic of All Hallow’s Eve. With a simple bit of fabric and the right amount of face paint, the ultimate game of ‘dress up’ takes place. And for one magical night, our little ones get the chance to be whatever their innocent imagination can dream up, as they set out into the community with an insatiable hunger for candy bars and caramel apples.

But the holiday isn’t just for tots – adults seem to be taking part in growing numbers each and every year. While they may be too old to Trick-or-Treat, Mom and Dad can put on a mask and wig, and head out in search of a prize far more valuable than candy — the opportunity to be a kid again, if only for one night.

But herein lies the problem. Mom and Dad can easily take care of themselves. Our kids on the other hand need a guiding hand, a responsible presence to help them stay safe and navigate through the waves of adolescent skeletons and superheroes roaming our neighborhoods. That means preparing ahead of time, and educating our children about the difference between the kind of behavior that’s acceptable for good ghosts and ghouls, and the kind where they can quickly find themselves in a spooky situation.

Stop and think about it for a second; if Halloween wasn’t a cherished and time-tested tradition, the concept would sound BANANAS if someone came up with the idea today. If one October day you said to someone, “I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we make all our kids anonymous by dressing them up in weird outfits, and send them go door-to-door asking complete strangers for sugar?” Your neighbors would be Googling the number for Child Services faster than you can say ‘Freddy Kruger’.

But over the years, parents have gotten this crazy concept down to a fine science. By following a few simple rules of thumb, you can make sure that the only horror your little monsters will face on this most hair-raising of holidays is their inevitable stomach ache.

  • Reality check: in many cities these days, it’s not safe to let kids walk the streets by themselves. Your best bet is to go along with them. But if you can’t take them yourself, coordinate with another parent to make sure they have an adult present at all times.
  • Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren’t going with them, and if possible, take a practice run in the day time. Let them know that they are to check in with you every hour, by phone or by stopping back at home.
  • Help your young child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make sure that it’s fireproof or treated with fire retardant. If they are wearing a mask of any kind, make sure that the eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision.
  • Set a concrete time that they need to be home – that’s right, candy hunting must have a curfew. Reiterate how important it is for them to be home on time, and make sure they call immediately if something happens and they are going to be delayed.
  • Teach your children how to cross the street properly. Make sure they look both ways, and only cross at corners or crosswalks — NEVER from between parked cars. And if you have more than one child, the older child should take the hand of the younger child while crossing.

And this last one is for you, Parents. Check. That. Candy. No matter how ravenous your little monsters are when they get back home, make sure that the proper time is taken for inspection. Toss anything that may look like it’s been tampered with in the garbage — unwrapped or torn candy wrappers, any type of small puncture holes, and any treat with an unusual appearance or discoloration.

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween, from your friends at d’aprile properties!

Carving Out Some Fun

Can you believe it? Fall is almost here, and Halloween looms on the horizon. It’s time to start thinking about costumes and decorations. And no fall season would be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch.

Keep the following in mind when searching for the perfect pumpkin or the most gorgeous gourd:

CHECK THE STEM: The texture and color of your pumpkin’s stem will tell its story. A soft or loose stem is a clue that the pumpkin could be prone to rotting. A green stem means the pumpkin has been freshly picked, but a tan or brown stems mean the pumpkin was harvested at least a few days ago.

SPOTS ARE BAD, M’KAY?: Soft spots on your pumpkin? Not good news. This may be a result of excess moisture or insects getting into the pumpkin, causing rot or mold. The more moisture and rot, the less time that pumpkin will look fresh on your front stoop.

ROLL WITH IT: We all know that pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes. So how do you check to see if yours will stand up throughout the season? Lay it gently on a flat surface, and check for the roll. A good, flat-bottomed pumpkin will stay in place, both in the patch and on your porch.

Happy Hunting! Check the list below for some of the best public pumpkin patches in the area!

Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm & Apple Orchard —  Pingree Grove

Sonny Acres Farm — West Chicago

Didier Farms — Lincolnshire

Konow’s Corn Maze — Homer Glen

Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm — Lockport