Sunday, October 12, 2008

Commuting Home on Halloween

Fall has two very important days for children to relish in: the first day of school and Halloween. I have spent several years working on Halloween only because it is rare that the holiday falls on a weekend. Many parents will think about previous Halloweens and remember the tired feet, adorable costumes, “candy checks” afterwards and the fear of cavities starting. I think about the drive home on the way to trick-or-treating and how terrible it is.

I think Halloween and New Years Eve are the worst two nights for driving. On Halloween there is the fear that a child in a dark costume will run out in front of your car or the thought that a black cat will cross your path as you drive. Here are my suggestions for making your drive home a safe one on Halloween.

Plan ahead
Know what time you need to leave work in order to get home. Allow time for dinner and determine ahead of time if dinner will be take-out or actually preparing a meal. I vote for take-out on a day that my child will never remember what I served anyway. They have one thing on their mind and it is not my homemade stroganoff.

Leave work early
See if you can leave work early and get ahead of the traffic. Think about all of the drivers out there and how many of them are parents also trying to get home to their Spiderman’s and Cinderella’s who are waiting to go trick-or-treating. If your neighboring commuter on the freeway does not have children, then there is a good chance that they have a party to attend or are hoping to get home to pass candy out. Even if you are stuck in traffic, you are further ahead in the line than you would be if you stayed until the normal time.

Go slow
Drive slowly on all side streets and look twice at intersections when turning. It is very important to be alert and aware of any little “creatures” that might jump out on purpose or by accident. This is also a time when it is getting darker earlier at night but kids are still out. Try to drive the speed limit and not be reckless when driving.

Take a deep breath
There was one year that the traffic was absolutely terrible and as the clock kept ticking, my mommy guilt started to take over. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you will get home. Feeling badly about it is not the answer and there are so many other days that you will have mommy guilt, so relax and pay attention to the rode.

Each year, I am amazed at how magical this holiday is. It has become one of my favorite holidays because it represents the excitement of childhood. There are so many situations, television shows and fashion trends that are making kids grow up too fast these days. But there is one day a year, where kids can be kids and dress-up as someone from make believe and have a great time. So drive safely home and enjoy the moment, it won’t be too much longer until your kids will be all grown up and “too cool” to trick-or-treat.

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