by Lauren Gard
Columnist Tony Hicks laments in today's CoCo Times that Halloween has become sanitized and dull as hell. And it seems to be true - parents these days lug their pint-size pirates and princesses to Main Street extravaganzas and fluorescent-lit shopping malls to collect candy from store clerks rather then trekking with them through their own neighborhoods to knock on doors. Hicks is among them, already stressing over how long it will take to find a parking space when he brings his daughter to Walnut Creek's Broadway Plaza tonight. "I don't advocate sending your little ones alone down unlit streets lacking proper sidewalks. You just can't do that in these times of Amber Alerts," he writes.
Um, yes you can, Tony. Just do it. Fewer than four hundred Amber alerts have gone out since the program's initiation in 2002 - that's less than a hundred a year. So stop stressing, and give your daughter a sense of community that involves generous people who aren't on a payroll, and may be sincerely interested to know not only who she dressed as but who she is. Wave from the curb when your neighbors peer past her to see who her father is. If your daughter is kidnapped one day-or trips over a crack in the crappy sidewalk and skins a knee - chances are you'll both be better off if the neighbors know her and can help.
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