Who Is Killing Halloween?

What Was Your Kid Count?

Who Is Killing Halloween?

Halloween is an excellent time to take the pulse of a community. You can really tell your neighbourhood's age and spirit by the volume of candy in a bowl by your door.

To monitor it you could do some fancy statistical analysis or you could just look at two hashtags on Twitter. #kidcount and #yyc are the tags people are using to track trick or treaters in their communities around Calgary.

Many are talking about few if any kids coming around.

@MalloryEvasiuk wonders where all the trick-or-treaters are in #yyc i remember as a kid mom would count 300+ kids per year i have had 10 #sad #morecandy4me

@TSG36 I had a total of 3 kids this year - 3 more than last yr...where are all the trick or treaters in New Brighton?! #kidcount #Halloween2011 #yyc

@DarciBrianne Only 41 kids tonight. Thats depressing considering we used to get about 150-200. =( #yyc #kidcount #shawnessy

@JenFuchs Next kid that comes gets the rest of the bowl! #kidcount #yyc

I had a blast walking the 4 blocks around our neighbourhood with my son tonight. I stood at the sidewalk chatting with other parents, laughing and smiling at the kids and their costumes.

I soaked in the enthusiasm of youth and bathed in the politeness of my boy saying "Thank you! Happy Halloween!" to each neighbour and then bounding down the driveway announcing "Daddy, I got more candy!" as if it was some biblical breaking of bread and fish that was producing his bounty.

@Pistachio we fell in with a crew of 5 neighbor kids and 2 other parents and our posse of 10 had a grand time going door-to-door and chatting.

That's what this night is supposed to be about. The normal quiet streets of suburbia bursting at the seams with giggles, sharing and small talk.

Then you scroll the hashtags and you find that this neighbourly enthusiasm wasn't a city-wide event. Then you see what the schools are doing by discouraging kids to dress up and you see the spirit of the season start to fade. Not everyone was on the streets mingling.

Kiri W wrote a great post today with 7 reasons why you should take your kids out.

Halloween is one of the only times in the year that it’s normal to knock on the door of an unknown person, have that person happily open the door, have a bit of a conversation and leave with everyone feeling good about it.

Shopping centres host trick-or-treating events because it gets a prime demographic through the doors to spend a couple hours window-shopping. They’re billed as “safe” alternatives, giving the false impression that neighbourhood trick-or-treating somehow isn’t safe. Taking your kids to the mall instead of exploring your neighbourhood sends your kids the message that commercial entities are preferred (more trusted?) than people down your street. [source]

It's all about breathing life into the community and sharing a festival with friends and strangers alike.

I wonder why the numbers are shrinking? Stats Canada says the population of trickers and treaters (5-14) is dwindling in the country, but I live in a community surrounded by 3 schools 5 playgrounds and the houses are less than 8 years old. This is a "young family community."

If you took your kids to the mall for Halloween, you're part of the problem. Stop being afraid that something bad is going to happen. There were dozens of us on the streets having fun tonight. It should have been hundreds.

What was your kid count? Who do you think is killing Halloween?


My Son Is A Cheerios Kid

And I'm Going To Brag

My Son Is A Cheerios Kid

My sons have yet to attend meaningful schooling. They've yet to play any meaningful sports. Their greatest accomplishments are things like rolling over, learning to talk, reaching the taps in the bathroom without a stool and going to the dentist without crying.

So I haven't really had a chance to boast about either of my boys - until this week.

My son is on a box of Cheerios. Let me say it again. CHARLIE IS ON A BOX OF CHEERIOS!

Last year we entered him in the Cheerios Milestones contest. The grand prize was a $10 000 RESP from TD Bank. That's worth an entry, I thought.

You had to write a paragraph about how Cheerios were part of a milestone in your son or daughter's life. For us, as with many, Cheerios marked the first solid food our boys could eat on their own. I told the story about how Zacharie would help us make sure there were only 5 Cheerios on Charlie's tray because if there were any more, he would throw them around the kitchen. So Cheerios became a counting tool and a finger food.

In January I received a call from General Mills saying Charlie (nickname The Chooch) had come in second in the contest. That meant a year's supply of Cheerios AND .. .. .. HIS PICTURE ON THE BOX!

The best part about Charlie winning is that our oldest, Zacharie, has always thought he was on a Cheerios box. When he was 3 this picture was in the bottom corner. He insisted it was him in the photo - it's not. So when Charlie won the contest we reminded Zacharie it was "Charlie's turn to be on the Cheerios box."

We're pretty certain The Chooch was the cutest out of the 20 finalists in the contest, but congratulations to Melody for picking up the grand prize and to all the kids who get bragging rights for a lifetime .. pictures on a Cheerios box!

The prize winning box is on shelves across Canada. Point at The Chooch and wave tomorrow morning over breakfast.



Why The Glass Ceiling Is Self-Inflicted

It's Just How It Is

Why The Glass Ceiling Is Self-Inflicted

Jian Ghomeshi got the fires burning this week on CBC Radio 1's Q with a discussion about whether or not the so-called “glass ceiling” women experience in the workplace is self inflicted. The specific question was: "is motherhood to blame?"

The answer is easy. Yes.

Dutch economist Heleen Mees argues the problem is that too many women prioritize motherhood over their careers. Yet, workplace management expert Penny de Valk says women should have a right to choose how they want to spend their life, and employers need to do more to accommodate them. [source]

My wife came off maternity leave in January, she didn't get a job until this fall. Okay, fine - the economy is in a bad spot and getting a gig isn't easy for anyone. She had over a dozen years experience as a wine rep and was consistently the top seller in her company. She was the one shuffled in to rehabilitate territories when the other people in the company weren’t pulling their weight. She’s a people person, she’s good at what she does.

We moved from Vancouver to Calgary when she was pregnant - that was part of the trouble finding a job - she had no contacts here and the marketplace is very cliquey. Employers hired who they knew or their contacts knew.

Still, she fought on.

In each interview she would have to explain how she was coming off mat leave and was in a new city. And in each interview she was asked “who’s going to look after your kids?”

When I came for an interview in Calgary, nobody asked me who was going to look after my kids. Nobody asks me how I’ll be able to juggle marathon training with my work schedule. Nobody asks me what I’ll do if my kids are sick and there’s no childcare.

But they asked my wife.

Frankly, it’s none of their business and employers who ask that of interviewees are crossing a personal line that belongs in the same field as racism.

A new study shows that people with immigrant sounding last names are less likely to get a call for interviews.

According to University of Toronto researchers Philip Oreopoulos and Diane Dechief, applications submitted by people with English-sounding names are 47 per cent more likely to receive callbacks than those with Indian or Chinese ones in Toronto, 39 per cent more likely in Montreal, and 20 per cent more likely in Vancouver. [source]

It’s why a friend of mine changed his Persian first name to Tony on his resume.

Women in that wheelhouse of 28-38 experience that same prejudice. Employers wondering if they’re hiring a breeder who they will train just to see on the sidelines in 6 months, 1 year or 2 years.

My wife was in that breeding wheelhouse when we got pregnant. She was 35, the same month a promotion came open. She didn’t go for it knowing she’d be 6 months into the job before going off for a year. She missed her window of opportunity. When she came to work after our first she was only in the field for 18 months before heading off on mat leave again.

When she told her manager (the one who got the promotion she didn’t go for) that she was pregnant and taking leave, she was greeted with “well that was your choice.”

Her manager was a woman.

My wife has a job now with a company that values her. She’s underpaid, but is appreciated. She could be managing a territory the size of Alberta and overseeing a dozen reps, her intuition, sales skills, experience and understanding of her industry warrant it, but she’s slogging it in the trenches, trying to catch up with 5 years of motherhood.

Why do women not get paid as much as men? Because of those 3, 4 or 5 lost wage earning years. Those are years without raises. Those are years without work experience growing. Those are years where career opportunity is missed.

Don’t let anyone tell you the glass ceiling doesn’t exist, it does. It’s her womb.

The way moms are treated when they come back to the workplace (who's looking after your kids? what will you do if they're sick? are you having any more?) is wrong. A woman going for a job interview should be judged on her skills and experience relevant to that job.

But (and there's always a but) should women who choose motherhood expect the same career opportunities and salary as those who don't? No. And there's nothing wrong with that, it's just the way it is.