DEAR ABBY: For several years I have wanted to share this little trick for parents whose small children consume too much candy at Halloween. Finally, I've found the time to write, and it's actually BEFORE Halloween.
I have always told my children, thanks to Linus in the "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, that the Great Pumpkin comes on Halloween night and brings a gift for the children who leave him candy. The more of their candy they leave, the bigger the gift is. To make this work -- and my children have never kept more than five pieces of candy -- you must begin when the children are very young, and keep reminding them that the more candy they leave, the BIGGER the gift. When my children keep only five pieces and turn the rest over to the Great Pumpkin, they get a substantial gift that they really want.
It's worth it to me. My kids have never had a cavity. And my husband and his co-workers are more than happy to eat what the Great Pumpkin reaps. I hope this works for other families. -- NO SUGAR IN SEATTLE
DEAR NO SUGAR: What a "sweet" idea for parents who try to limit their children's sugar intake. It's a suggestion I'm sure many parents will welcome this Halloween.
And while I'm on the subject of Halloween, may I add a few more tips from the National Citizens' Crime Prevention Campaign, which is substantially funded by the U.S. Department of Justice:
1. Instruct children not to eat any treats until they get home. Feed them a meal or snack before they go out to keep them from digging in while they're out. Parents should inspect all the treats.
2. Allow children to eat only those treats that are in unopened and original wrappers. Carefully inspect fruits and homemade goodies.
3. Make sure children wear light colors or put reflective tape on their flame-retardant costumes, which should be short to prevent trips and falls.
4. Try makeup instead of masks, which can obstruct a child's vision.
5. Children should trick-or-treat in groups, and stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on. Young children should always be accompanied by an adult.
6. Map out a safe route to familiar homes for older trick-or-treaters, and make sure the children have flashlights, and that they stay on well-lighted streets.
DEAR ABBY: Your letter to "Sleepless, But Not in Seattle," struck a familiar note with me. My natural sleep rhythm also makes me a night owl. I have been like this as far back as I can remember, going to bed after midnight and waking up around 10 a.m. I was always teased about it, and my mother used to stand at the bottom of the stairs and sing, "Lazy Mary, Will You Get Up?"
Now that I'm an adult, I get the same attitude from my husband. He's snoozing in his recliner by 8 p.m. (nobody says he's lazy), and I'm wide awake for four more hours. I even wear a nightshirt that says, "Perky Morning People Should Be Shot!"
I don't know why "Sleepless" should be considered to have a "condition" that can be relieved. She's fine. She should find a job on the second shift and work from 3 p.m. to midnight, or work the swing shift. She'll be glad she did. No sense dragging around, waiting for retirement to enjoy life. Sign me ... SLEEPLESS IN LOUISIANA
DEAR SLEEPLESS: If other factors in "Sleepless's" life don't compel her to conform, that's certainly an option worth exploring.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600