Long before Colorado authorities discovered the mutilated remains of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway in an open field, and New Jersey investigators found 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale’s body dumped in a recycling container, I never considered allowing my 8-year-old daughter to trick-or-treat alone… or even with a group of friends.
In Jessica’s case, she was snatched earlier this month while making the 1,000-foot walk to her school. Late Tuesday, 17-year-old Austin Reed Sigg was arrested and charged with her horrific death. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, police recently arrested 15-year-old Justin Robinson and his 17-year-old brother for allegedly murdering Autumn in order to obtain parts from her beloved BMX bike.
The alleged killers may be behind bars right now, but that hardly motivates me to send my kid out in the dark of night to collect free candy while wearing an elaborate costume.
And I know I am not alone.
Scared-to-death parents are all around and we’re prime targets for marketers of Halloween-related safety items. For example, the Amazon app store is currently selling a Trick-or-Tracker. The high-tech tool is basically a GPS that links a child’s phone with his parent’s. It is designed to notify kids, who are allowed to trick-or-treat alone, when they have gone too far out of their parents’ comfort zone. The app also gives parents the power to set-up a virtual fence and if kids cross it, mom and dad get a text warning of the potential danger.
The catch with this app is that your mini ghoul or goblin needs an Android phone to use it, though you can have the emergency alert texts sent to any kind of phone. The $5 price tag also includes a “latchkey kid” feature which sends an alert to your iPhone, BlackBerry or Windows 7 phone when your child arrives home. In addition, the app comes with a flashlight for illuminating dark pathways or for finding a Snickers bar at the bottom of a plastic pumpkin.
Do you allow your kids to trick-or-treat alone?