By Laura Peng
Don’t expect sophomore Jonathan Jun to show up at your front door on the night of Halloween. He does not accompany his friends to Party Tree to shop for costumes or leave candy out for trick-or-treaters. His mom, Eunice Jun, does not observe Halloween for religious reasons and said she prefers that Jonathan and his brother spend time with the family to stay out of trouble.
“My mom thinks it’s dangerous to be out with your friends at night,” Jonathan said. “We’re teenagers. We can do some pretty destructive things.”
According to the National Retail Federation, 38.3 percent of adults in the Midwest similar to Mrs. Jun do not intend to celebrate Halloween this Saturday for both religious and non-religious reasons. Instead, she plans to take her family out to dinner.
“Halloween is a holiday when children dress up in costumes and engage in festivities,” Mrs. Jun said. “But I personally do not believe in the holiday and prefer that my children remain at my side where I know they are safe.”
According to Sergeant Phil Hobson, the resource officer at this school, cases of misconduct and vandalism typically increase on the night of Halloween. In response to this statistic, both the local police local neighborhoods keep a closer eye on Halloween pranksters.
Hobson said, “You will see smashed mailboxes and pumpkins and the occasional toilet paper in the yard. But increases occur in misdemeanor crimes, not in violent crimes.”
But not everyone considers the crimes problematic. One of the numerous victims of such misdemeanors include sophomore Annie Zipes, who wakes up the morning after Halloween each year with her front yard blanketed in toilet paper.
“My brother’s friends TP our house, and I think it’s funny as long as I’m not the one who has to clean it all up,” Annie said. “And my parents don’t really mind since we know who did it.”
Toilet papering typically does not cause any permanent damages or result in significant monetary losses.
For these reasons among others, Annie’s mom, Melissa Zipes, shares a similar perspective with her daughter.
Mrs. Zipes said, “The first thing that goes through my mind is how long it will take to pick it all up. I figure kids will be kids. I’m mildly annoyed, but never angry. When (the pranks) don’t cause any damage, I don’t think it should really get them in trouble since it’s not hurting anyone. I trust my kids not to do anything disrespectful, and I think pranks are a bit different.”
Nevertheless, the police often receive word of more serious cases of vandalism every year on Halloween that require families to spend money for replacing damaged property. More destructive pranks include egging houses and cars, forking yards and smashing pumpkins and mailboxes.
“About seven years ago on one Halloween evening, there was a neighborhood on the southeast side of the city where about 40 mailboxes were vandalized,” Hobson said. “Even though it may seem harmless to the kids who did it, the monetary losses were quite significant. If you figure about $200 a mailbox times 30, the numbers can get really high.”
According to Hobson, individuals who are caught committing criminal mischief are arrested and required to pay restitution to the victims of their misdemeanors. Additional consequences include probation and community service.
“When you’re out with your friends, you can do really stupid things,” Jonathan said. “My friends usually do a lot of crazy stuff (on Halloween), and I’m not there to do it with them.”
Although Jonathan said he feels left out of Halloween festivities, he does not have anything to say against his parents’ decision. In fact, he said he is not sure whether he would let his own kids celebrate Halloween in the future.
“It depends on what grade they’re in and where we’re living,” Jonathan said. “My brother and I did not celebrate Halloween when we were kids. My parents just bought us a lot of candy and usually took us out to eat at a restaurant. They don’t like the thought of running around with your friends at night.”
Hobson said, “Some people are more aware of the safety issues involving younger children Halloween is a neat holiday for kids to dress up as long as they are safe and responsible. Depending on their age, parents are responsible for supervising their kids, keeping an eye on them and checking their candy. Free candy is never a bad thing.”