Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mother Nature's Halloween Prank

Orange County school district superintendents united via conference call last week to deem local air quality too poor for outdoor play until further notice, which has severely cramped my Halloween plans. Our after school program facilitates an annual Penny Carnival and Costume Contest every Halloween afternoon, which is usually run outside, but with the ash from the 2007 Wildfires still spectral in the atmosphere, the festivities will have to come inside -- a challenge considering the, er, quaintness of our facility. We've managed to pull it off for the past week, utilizing our knowledge of indoor games from countless training and workshops, but to recreate the spirit of a definitively outdoor holiday under a roof will be hard -- like "Bah, humbug" Halloween equivalent, I reckon. Additionally, with our Haunted House hidden behind hanging tarps, one of my Staff will have to embrace the assignment of dissuading kids from peeking, a task that sounds scary in itself.

What stinks more than that lingering scent of ash is how clear the weather seems to be, and, as my natural rebel churns, I wonder what standard or gauge the superintendents are using to judge the air quality. Are they more concerned about potential parental backlash if the kids are permitted to play? Do they, and those parents ready to chomp at the bit about their children's safety when they should be making dinner anyway, understand what they're doing to their teachers' day, when students can't storm the playground but rather remain seated for some contrived game of Heads-up 7-Up at recesstime? These lessons should be exploited and explained to children . . .

Because nothing might promote arson prevention and fire safety more than the risk they pose to the pursuit of free candy.

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