Is something wrong if, in the course of some day’s play, a puppet or doll gets hit by a door?
“Some people come to me as if they’ve hitched on a horse before, and they’re getting a chance to prove the fact that they’re really no horse at all,” says Tom Wilson, a puppeteer at the Royal Court.
Mr. Wilson teaches children that it’s not the puppets that hurt each other, it’s the way the puppets’ limbs connect that kills. He has taught several of them how to keep the bodies off each other via puppets made out of soft tissues. Then he has them move their bodies to the other end of the room when the puppet hits. “It’s the easiest way,” he says.
But for others, it’s all too easy. One woman I spoke to said she once hit another at a birthday party and it left her with serious injuries.
Another woman had one of her doll legs broken off. She was able to play with it for several weeks before the doll finally died.
Some parents fear that children who live near other children on Halloween night might be more likely to engage in trick-or-treating.
“We want to be responsible for the kids who come to my door, and they are coming to mine, because I don’t want them to be going to a place like a school, being in trouble for no reason and be able to be hurt,” says David Wollman, vice president of education for the Philadelphia Housing Authority. “And the kids that come to our door are the children that are responsible for the problem.”
Ms. McLean and Mr. Wilson say they’ve never heard of anyone getting hurt because people let their kids trick-or-treat before they go over to their homes.
They say kids who aren’t up for Halloween are usually kids who are in trouble.
Mr. Wilson says that the best way to get kids to behave is for parents to talk to them and take them away from the street.
“They’re afraid because they don’t know what the repercussions are,” he says of his kids. “But, if you talk with them and get them to make up their mind and think it through first before you act, then all the good will come.”
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