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During a recent Halloween, Mary Shumar, a grandmother who gets about 200 or more trick-or treaters in her Ohio neighborhood, was a bit surprised when a mom asked if she could pee in her backyard.
“I invited the mom to use our bathroom, and when I asked her 8-year-old daughter if she wanted to come in, too, she said no and sat on my front step,” Shumar recalls. “Next thing I know, the mom started opening her pants and raced over to the bathroom, admitting that she’d had a few beers before they started trick-or-treating.”
Apparently, this is not your parents’ Halloween.
These days, the holiday seems to be as much about trailing screaming hordes of kids around the neighborhood as it is juggling a Solo cup filled with a spiked something or other. It’s happening all over the country, and should prove especially true this year, as Halloween falls on a Friday night. In fact, several adults-only Halloween drinking games have already gone viral, including “Frozen,” in which parents must do a shot every time a kid in an Elsa costume appears at their door.
Seems that, for some moms and dads, Halloween is the perfect night to loosen up.
“Some parents serve spiked apple cider, others serve festive fall shots, and others take flasks with them while trick-or-treating,” Tracy Gibb, a mom who blogs at Less Than Perfect Parents, tells Yahoo Parenting. “I don’t think this is a bad thing, as long as parents do it responsibly — getting trashed with kids is never a good idea.”
Tara Kennedy-Kline, a Pennsylvania mom of two, tells Yahoo Parenting that sees drinking as a way for parents to socialize and relax with friends while the kids get their sugar fix. “With the increasing popularity of novelty cocktails and themed libations, as well as the seasonal craft brew and homemade wine craze, alcohol has gone from sloppy frat fare to downright midlife vogue,” she says. “Oktoberfests are the block parties of a new generation of parents. We aren’t getting stupid hammered. We’re just kicking back and relaxing with friends.”
It’s also a way to numb the potentially boring task of following your kid from house to house — or, as one parent put it, a way “to take the edge off” trick-or-treating.
“Parents are steering away from having to be perfect,” Gibb says. “We’ve put kids first to the detriment of ourselves, our careers and our marriages. We’re still giving our kids great experiences, but we’re mixing in adult time, too.”
Still, no one can argue that Halloween isn’t without its safety challenges, especially when the adult chaperones are tipsy.
“Parents bear a great burden on Halloween,” warns Ralph Blackman, president and CEO of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, an organization that focuses on eliminating drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision making regarding alcohol. “Kids are out after dark, often wearing costumes that hinder walking and eyesight, and are approaching the homes of strangers.” He adds, “The memes and gifs about drinking on Halloween are worth a chuckle, sure, but they certainly don’t depict responsible behavior and aren’t a practice we want our kids to emulate,” Blackman says.
(So maybe reconsider the flasks this year…?)