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Our view: Happy Halloween

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Thanks to the way the calendar fell this year, today, though a Monday, is not likely to be dull. Probably around 6:30, 7 p.m., little monsters will start running around neighborhoods throughout the city, ringing doorbells and yelling for candy.

For anyone who takes Halloween seriously — we’ve heard of people who think that dressing up as demons and ghouls (or, these days, as orcs and superheroes) actually represents some kind of threat to society — let’s just remember that we have more to fear from people who want to burn witches than from pretend witches — or from real witches, for that matter.

And begging for free candy one night a year isn’t really indoctrination for socialism.

Most of us grew up participating in this good clean fun with little detrimental effect except additional cavities.

Other faux fears have been associated with the holiday as well, including rumors of razor blades in apples — as if children would eat apples — and Satanists looking for children to snatch. These fears always turn out to be fodder for urban legends rather than any real threat. They’re about as accurate as a campaign flyer.

This year’s overheated threat is “rainbow fentanyl” disguised as Skittles or Sweetarts or some other colorful candy being handed out by our neighbors, one dose of which will turn children into junkies.

Let’s let common sense prevail. Drugs cost money. No greedy drug pusher worth his salt is going to hand out a million dollars’ worth of goods for free.

That’s not to say that caution isn’t in order, as is generally the case with children. It’s not a bad idea for a parent to go through those plastic pumpkins — we see you, don’t take the peanut butter cup — before handing them over to the kids.

Just don’t overdo it. Don’t panic. Especially with candy that comes self-contained inside the unopened wrappers of well-established candy companies.

This isn’t to minimize the danger of fentanyl — it’s deadly stuff, potent and highly addictive. And its usage has reached epidemic proportions, driving drug deaths to record highs.

Seven Los Angeles teenagers have died of fentanyl poisoning in recent weeks. Ninety-seven overdose deaths in South Bend, Ind., were attributed to fentanyl in 2021. Three New Yorkers died from fentanyl poisoning earlier this month.

But these overdose victims all knew they were taking a drug. The three New Yorkers thought they were taking cocaine — they hadn’t been told that fentanyl had been mixed with it.

None thought they were eating candy. Fentanyl is produced in candy colors to fool border inspectors, not to entice kids. Drug dealers want to create addicts — addicts with money — not corpses.

We can help fight fentanyl the way we fight all opioid addictions — through education, through refraining from any illegal drug and through providing resources for addicts, including treatment programs — and, right now, by voting for candidates who are determined to take on the scourge, not with panicked and exaggerated claims about “open borders,” but through reasoned and proved tactics. The vast majority of fentanyl enters the country as counterfeit pills sent through the mail or passes through border checkpoints, hidden in other goods.

So don’t panic.

There is cause for caution tonight, though. According to data from the National Transportation Board, Halloween is by far the most dangerous day of the year for crashes involving children. It shouldn’t be surprising, when you consider how distracting loud, colorfully costumed kids can be. So be alert while driving.

And be generous with the chocolate. You only get to be a kid once.

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