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Happy Halloween -- Be Safe!

Happy Halloween! Our dojo has training tonight, but I have advised all of our students that they can miss class to go trick-or-treating or to hand out candy at their homes. I didn't want any students to feel like they had to attend training and miss out on a special event.

I feel that children need to be children. Halloween is a fun time for them, as well as for their parents. There is always time for Karate training. Karate is something you do for a lifetime.

I remember that when I practiced Kendo, there would be training even on Christmas in some schools. The only day they took off was New Years. That seems a bit too much for me. I encourage students to spend special holidays with their families and loved ones. One should not neglect family and loved ones because of Karate training.

Halloween can also be a risky time, especially for children. Going out at night presents dangers. Children should be escorted by a parent (or adult) and make sure to have a good light source. Watch out for cars and dogs and other people. Make sure that the children's costumes are safe and non-flammable.

Some years, you might hear about someone putting poison or foreign objects in the candy. You have to watch this carefully. Parents should inspect all candy. And candy is not very good for children anyway. So many of our children in the United States are overweight and this can lead to a host of medical problems. Some parents will trade their children for their candy and give them something healthier (or money or something).

Of course, I cannot tell any parents what they should do. That is up to the parents. These are just some of the things that I think about as a parent of four children who all went our trick-or-treating when they were young.

The most important thing, as Karate students, is to be aware and careful. That applies at all times, not just on Halloween.

Here are two of my candy stories. When I was young, I lived at Misawa Air Force Base in Northern Japan. In Japan, they sold bags of "rock candy" which was big crystals of sugar. I can't think that anything that could be more sweet than big crystals of pure sugar. I could eat the whole bag! Back then (late 1960s), some people still gave out homemade candied apples (the red ones, not the caramel ones). We would eat the apples and lose our fillings.

I loved candy and any sweets. As a result, I was a chubby boy. The way I slimmed down was practicing Judo on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at the big gymnasium on base. I still liked candy, but the exercise helped me to burn off all the calories.

Happy Halloween! Be safe.


Charles C. Goodin