It was a dark and stormy night. I pulled my cloak around my shoulders and steeled myself to face the elements, for I had one question that must be asked. “Trick … or Treat?”

I love Halloween. My husband would tell you that my “spooktacular” obsession is out of control. I beg to disagree. In my humble opinion, one can never have too much spider webbing. I do not think it is odd to fill the trunk of your car with pumpkins. Who doesn’t want to eat bread sticks shaped like witches fingers or make a JELL-O® “Brain” mold (*hint* add gummy worms after the JELL-O starts to cool).

The wise woman pushed open the door of our home and the cold night air howled through the room. My burgundy velvet skirt swirled around my ankles and my gold bracelets glistened in the moonlight. I was a GYPSY and the magic of the night was calling me.

I frequently say to my detractors, “I am a pediatrician and this is THE kids holiday” but the reality is I simply love that for one night every year we get to dress up and be anything or anyone that we want. Your imagination is the limit. What an amazing gift to give our kids. We can teach them that just because we “grow up” we do not have to shut off that part of us that is about imagination and play. How cool is it for our kids to see their parents “dress up” or watch us get excited because “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is on TV?

As the rain began to fall, my traveling companions, a vampire and a giant dinosaur, decided to remain behind and fill their pumpkins with confections from the untouched bowl beside the door. Only the wise woman remained. She grabbed my hand and gave me a heart- warming smile … “Ok kid TWO houses. Let’s go!”

This Halloween, as you create memories with your little Captain America or Cinderella, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  1. Children should never trick or treat alone. Young children should be with an adult. Older kids who wish to go without parents should go with a group or with an older sibling.
  2. Plan your route in advance. Only go to homes that you know. Remind your kiddos to stay on well-lit pathways and never walk down alleys or take shortcuts across fields or parking lots.
  3. Take a cell phone in case of emergencies.
  4. Make sure your child’s costume is easy to walk in and flame resistant.
  5. Keep hems short and wear comfortable shoes. I also recommend adding reflective tape so drivers can easily see your child.
  6. Avoid masks. They tend to impede vision and can make it difficult to breathe. If your child is using makeup do a patch test to look for skin sensitivities.
  7. Have your child carry a flashlight or glow stick so they can see where they are going and people can see them.
  8. Remind your children to never enter anyone’s home or get in a stranger’s car.
  9. Check all of your child’s candy before they eat it. Look for choking hazards or signs of tampering.
  10. If you are placing jack-o’-lanterns or luminaries on your porch use a flameless candle or glow sticks.
  11. If you are giving out treats make sure your house is well lit so “trick-or-treaters” know they are welcome.

Later that night, as we returned to our home, the wise woman asked, “What are you going to be next year?” I closed my eyes and imagined all the things I could be. “I think I want to be a doctor.” The wise woman, known as Mom, simply smiled.



Sandra Peak, M.D., joined Cook Childrens Physician Network in Lewisville in 2004. Dr. Peak enjoys gardening, yoga, and boating and in her spare time can be found at the lake with her husband Jay, stepson Sage and the world’s most amazing Lab, Sugar Mae. Plus, she really, REALLY likes Halloween.

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