A kick in the pumpkin to adults who are holiday thieves.

Halloween was long a devil worshipping holoday. But society wrestled it away from those lunatics and gave it to the children, who excitedly walked door to door after dark (after bedtime!) dressed as their heroes, gathering candy and talking to strangers. Adults slogged across the sidewalk, sheepishly tagging along for safety’s sake when crossing streets — or for moral strength when approaching porches festooned with faux spiderwebs.

But now adults — the devils! — have stolen it back. The thievery began with those quasi-adults (college students) who are always clutching for any old reason to throw a party. But now it’s become mainstream and suburbanized. Every bar has a costume party tonight, when parents and adults should instead be at home handing out candy or walking slowly through residential neighborhoods behind their kids and slyly sneaking a piece of candy or two.

But all this drinking and dressing up has not just meant adults aren’t around to show children the value of neighborhoods, community and chocolate. They are actually putting those youngsters at grave risk.

Oregon State Police felt compelled to send out a press released this week titled in part “Keep Halloween fun, not tragic.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Halloween is a “particularly deadly night due to the high number of drunk drivers on the roads and the increase in pedestrians during the evening hours.”

In Oregon, there were 10 fatalities on Halloween night between 1998 and 2008, 90 percent of which involved alcohol and drugs. During the last two years there have been three Halloween night traffic fatalities.

It’s worse for children, who are twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.

So even if you can’t be bothered to stay home and let the night belong to the children, remember to at least use caution behind the wheel, slow down and be alert in residential areas and be careful doing the little things: like entering and exiting driveways. Expect lots of little pedestrians who may not always be able to see where they’re going.

And for heaven’s sake, don’t dare drink and drive.

So children: enjoy Halloween, children. And adults: help children enjoy Halloween.

A tip of the bat to the adults who buck that trend, however, and stay home and do their duty to make kids happy. We will tip that bat even farther into the cave if you’re one of those generous souls who hands out full-size candy bars. You, my friend, are a legend in every fourth-grade classroom in the county.

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