Expecting the unexpected

Elizabeth Bird doesn’t think that Halloween is going to be affected by the ramifications of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bird, a USF anthropology professor, said the fear of Halloween has always been present.

“For several years there have been lots of rumors about poisoned apples and things like that,” Bird said. “People have always been worried about the legends.”

Some have suggested that the fear-factor in Halloween should be totally removed this year. Bird disagrees.

“Halloween is about being frightened, kids don’t want to be fear-free,” she said. “People would try to make it more of play-fear, but you have to keep the fear thing.”

Ilene Berson, a child and family studies professor at USF, said ensuring the safety of kids would be important this year, more so than ever before. Berson emphasized the role of parents in this year’s Halloween.

“It’s a good idea for parents to talk to kids about being able to differentiate between real and fake,” Berson said. “Parents should be there with them, to help diffuse situations where the kids experience fear.”

Berson added that she would let her children go out for Halloween after making sure they were safe. “My kids will be going out for Halloween,” Berson said. “It’s important to create safety for children, letting them go to houses of people that you know.”With regard to the anthrax scare, Berson said it is important not to overreact.

“We need to look at the reality of the number of cases that have occurred, and we have to be careful about reacting too strongly in relation to how it affects our children,” she said.

Nicole Garrett, a senior, said her parents have always been strict about going out on Halloween. She suggested a safe way to celebrate this year.

“The safest and cheapest way is to buy the kids candy, and let them eat it at home,” she said.

Garrett said that she doesn’t trust anyone in light of the current events.

“All the stuff is going on close to home, and I wouldn’t put anything past anyone,” she said.

Shireen Saroea, a sophomore, said she would let her little brother go out just as long as he is informed of the potential dangers involved.

“He can do what he wants after I’ve warned him,” she said.Saroea added that regardless of the Sept. 11 tragedy, she has always been weary about Halloween because of the way some people act.

“I’ve never really felt safe on Halloween,” she said. “It seems to be the time of the year when people have an excuse to go crazy.”

Vanessa Escobar, a sophomore, disagreed with putting a total ban on Halloween this year.

“I wouldn’t want to be a kid and not be able to go trick-or-treating on Halloween,” she said.

Bird said it was important to get back to doing things the way we normally did them.

“If we don’t get back to normal, the terrorists would have won,” she said.

Bird gave insight as to the kinds of hoaxes she said would no doubt be common this year.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about people pouring harmless powders in little kid’s bags. The candy could be playfully contaminated,” she said. “It’s possible that people may try to do copycat kinds of things and we should be aware.”

Shannon Haremza, a sophomore, agreed with Bird. “Certain types of powders and dipsticks shouldn’t be given out. Hard candy is much safer,” Haremza said.

Bird said that regardless of all the rumors going around, Halloween might not be much different this year.

“It has a scary, sinister dimension to it that you can never take away,” she said.