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It’s October. The season of crunching leaves, scarves and sweaters, windy days, and creepy decorations.

Two weeks ago I was walking through a hardware store and heard a startled cry. It took me a minute to find the source, since it came from a teeny little tot whose mother had just walked past a display of Halloween decorations. She was frozen with fear. Bordering the aisle between her and her mother stood a life-sized black-clad hag, rocking back and forth and waiving a wrinkled, beckoning hand at passers-by. Her mother saw her, laughed, and encouraged her to continue on, saying that it was just pretend. The poor girl took a lot of encouraging.

I’m a stay at home mom, and the thought of trooping my three little innocents past one of those horrid displays is enough – was enough today, in fact – to make me stay at home and give them peanut butter sandwiches for lunch when we could really use some groceries. If a local grocery store advertised themselves as child-friendly (ie. no creepy decor), they would secure my family’s grocery purchases until mid-November. And I’m betting many other families’ as well.

My kids are sensitive. Last year a family across the street erected a huge inflated black cat, which moved with the wind. My two year old was traumatized by walking past it one day on the way to the park. My five year old had bad dreams for a week after walking past some masks in a dollar store. I foolishly didn’t anticipate the creepy decor season beginning in August.

I know some people enjoy decorating and having fun with the seasons, but I wish our society would place the needs of our smallest and most vulnerable high enough to exercise a little more restraint. By all means, cover your front steps with pumpkins and fall colours and spiders. But our children should be free to enjoy the outdoors and buy bananas without being scarred by it. I’m not suggesting that no one sell Halloween decorations. It does seem to me though that there are an ever increasing number of dark and sinister ones available now, and without commenting further on that point, it would really help parents of young children if these were at least kept in the middle of the seasonal aisle, instead of displayed on the ends for all to see.

Once again this October, my children and I will be sticking close to home, finding clear routes to the playgrounds and putting off family shopping trips until November comes and most of the gore is back in storage.

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