Forget ghosts or goblins, Freddy or Jason. In my day it was razor blades in candy. Or at least, the threat of razor blades in candy. That was the scariest part of Halloween for parents...
With each passing year, the trick-or-treating tradition gets one spooky step closer to extinction. These days it's all allergies and racist costumes, and is it actually safe enough to let your kids walk around the block after dark?
Now there's a new phenomenon known as “reverse trick-or-treating” to plague all our houses on October 31st.
Knowing you're at home and that you will willingly open the door to cold callers on this one evening a year, activist parents are taking advantage of their captive audience.
After handing you a leaflet and a sample of fair trade chocolate, these parents will proceed to tell you that the goodies you're doling out to the little ones may not be so good after all.
Don't get me wrong, I don't condone slavery and child labour in the cocoa trade (or in any trade for that matter). But there's a time and a place for everything, right? And you know what, it's not my front porch in a princess costume.
As blogger Kim Conte says, "Let’s raise awareness about and fight against major chocolate companies with disgusting labour practices! But let’s do it before or after Halloween – not when you are at a well-meaning person’s front door taking candy they’re giving you out of the goodness of their own heart.”
May your Hallowe'en be safe and yummy!
A leading British hospital plans to perform gastric balloon operations on obese children as young as 12.
Although the surgery -- which involves inserting a balloon into the abdomen then inflating it with salt water to mimic a feeling of satiety -- has prompted adults to lose weight, few studies have involved children.
In charge of the trial at Sheffield Children's Hospital, Dr. Neil Wright said only morbidly obese boys and girls (weighing 14st to 20st, between 190lbs to 280lbs) would be considered for surgery.
Candidates would have to have finished puberty, and also have a mature bone structure reflecting a "skeletal age" of 14.
"This is not a quick fix as the lifestyle advice and support is very important in helping young people to lose weight, and giving them the information they need in the future to manage a healthy lifestyle," says Dr. Wright.
Dr. Wright would work for up to two years with the young candidates, who will be recruited via GPs, hospital consultants, weight management programmes and even parents, to see if the balloons help the kids keep off the weight in the long run.
If the results are successful, the programme could be rolled out across the country where, recent stats claim, 25 per cent of boys and 33 per cent of girls from 2 to 19 years are overweight or obese.
It's estimated that obesity currently costs the UK around £2billion a year and shortens lives by around nine years due to associated health problems.
Some experts are predicting that parents may soon outlive their own children.
Scary stuff. Obesity is a huge problem here, too. Do you think Canada should adopt such radical means of reduction? Is surgery the only solution left to us?
Confused yet? These are confusing times. But not for Bobby Montoya, not anymore. Bobby became the world's first boy Girl Scout after the 7-year-old from Denver was welcomed into the ranks of the Girl Scouts of Colorado.
Life wasn't always clear cut for Bobby who has identified as a girl since the age of two, even though he was theoretically born a boy.
"He loved girl stuff, so we just let him dress how he wants, as long as he's happy," says his mom Felisha Archuela.
Bobby, who plays with dolls, dresses in girls' clothing, and keeps his shoulder-length hair neat, begged his mom follow in his big sister's footsteps by joining the Scouts.
Unfortunately Bobby's application was initially rejected by a Denver troop leader on the technicality of him possessing "boy parts." The decision was shortly overturned and a statement released by the Scouts, outlining its inclusive policies:
"If a child identifies as a girl and the child's family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout."
The troop leader is now in what is known as "sensitivity training." These are indeed sensitive times and complex transgendered ones.
Toronto psychotherapist, LeeAndra Miller, who works with queer and trans youth at the Central Toronto Youth Services, told the Star: "At age seven [Bobby] may know that he's in the wrong body, but he may also grow up to be a gay guy or even a straight man who likes stereotypically feminine things."
"These kids will grow into who they are and we have to honour that," says Miller.
Still, it makes the playground a tricky place to negotiate. My 3-year-old invariably calls boys with hair longer than his "little girls." I think a new pronoun is in order for the likes of Storm and Bobby.
In the meantime, shouldn't we do away with gender segregation altogether? Do boys and girls still need separate clubs? Is it high time that an organization like the Scouts went unisex?