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Spooky: What not to worry about this Halloween
Sweet Tater Halloween
Sweet Potato Pie, also known as "Tater," at Halloween. - photo by Susan Thacker

The easiest people to scare at Halloween may be parents of young children. In the 1960s, parents were warned to check their kids’ candy and be sure to look for razor blades hidden inside any apples. Last year, the federal government warned parents about THC-infused snacks that look like candy. This year, the Drug Enforcement Administration appeared to up the ante by warning us that drug cartels are using rainbow-colored pills and powders that look like candy or sidewalk chalk but are actually fentanyl. 

Earlier this month, Sen. Roger Marshall and 12 other Republican senators issued a video warning parents about this danger.

The DEA later clarified that random trick-or-treaters are probably not at risk from rainbow fentanyl; drug dealers aren’t sneaking free samples into their candy. It issued the warning about drugs that look like candy back in August.


Another thing that scares parents when sending their children out on the streets to beg for candy is boogie men and other predators. There’s a website that can help ease their minds.

Parents can check neighborhoods for registered offenders before sending their kids to trick or treat.

The list of offenders in Barton County contains the names and addresses of 190 men and women who are required to register as drug offenders, sex offenders or violent offenders under the Kansas Offender Registration Act. Most of the people on the list are drug offenders and about 98% of them are shown to be compliant with their reporting requirements. There were 69 registered sex offenders, including one listed as non-compliant.

The list can be found online at, where the public may search by name or geographic location – zeroing in on a particular block or neighborhood if desired.

Allergies: Teal pumpkins signify safe treats

Many families do have a good reason to fear their kids’ treats will be unsafe due to food allergies, which have risen tremendously over the past 20 years, according to FARE (Food Allergy Research Education).

FARE’s 2022 Teal Pumpkin Project, now in its 10th year, is back to help make Halloween safe and inclusive for the more than 1 in 13 children with food allergies and intolerances.

Anyone can participate by placing a teal-colored pumpkin on their doorstep to signal that, in addition to candy, non-food goodies such as inexpensive toys and allergy-safe food treats are available for trick or treaters.

So, if you know your treats are free of food allergens such as nuts, milk, egg, soy, wheat, and sesame, and if you know how to get your hands on a teal pumpkin, you’re all set.

Sure, it’s scary being a parent. It’s important to tell children about staying safe by not using drugs, tobacco or alcohol. We can even teach them about stranger danger and we can check their Halloween candy, throwing out anything that smells funny or looks suspicious. A lesson on the wiles of marketing – including pretty products that are absolutely not safe – may be in order. But if you’re going to worry about the dangers of Halloween, the most common injuries this time of year come from trips and falls while walking on uneven surfaces; cuts from pumpkin carving; flammable objects and burns; and traffic accidents. So, teach the kiddos to stay visible, stay on designated walkways, wear a costume that won’t trip them up, and watch for cars.