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by Abigail Van Buren

Halloween Shutterbug Gives Concerned Mom the Creeps

DEAR ABBY: Please help me. I wasn't sure how to handle an uncomfortable situation last Halloween, and your answer will help me be better prepared this year.

I took my 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old niece trick-or-treating. We only walk up walkways that are well-lit. As we approached one house, an older gentleman was waiting at the open door, handing out candy to the kids.

Before I could process what was happening, he whipped out a camera and took a picture of my daughter and niece. I was not comfortable with it at all. But what could I have possibly done or said without being rude? Our neighborhood is a safe area, but in this day and age you can trust no one.

Do you think it was inappropriate for an older man to take pictures of someone's children? What would be the proper way to handle it this year? -- HALLOWEEN ESCORT, SAN DIEGO

DEAR ESCORT: While I admire your vigilance as a parent, if the children were wearing cute costumes, I don't think it was inappropriate for the gentleman to want to take their picture. Of course, it would have been better had this neighbor first asked permission. But since he didn't, and it made you uncomfortable, avoid his house this year and in the future.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for three years. His mother has become very ill and is dying. My problem is, I don't know how to comfort him in his time of need. I am trying my best to console him, but he gets angry. I try to love him, but he pushes me away. I try to talk to him and he tunes me out. What can I do to help my husband? -- HEARTBROKEN IN ARIZONA

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You are a loving, caring wife, but please stop trying so hard to "help" your husband. Everyone must deal with death in his (or her) own way, and the things you think might console you may only make him feel worse.

What you can do is be there for him. Do not push him to express his feelings. If he wants to talk, listen. If he tunes you out, stop talking because it means he's not ready to hear what you're trying to communicate. Tell him you love him, but give him his space.

This may not be easy when all you want to do is put your arms around him right now, but please consider what I have said.

DEAR ABBY: I was recently promoted and now work closely with presidents, CIOs, CEOs and COOs and a lower-ranking member of an executive team. During meetings, some of these high-ranking individuals issue statements of fact that I know are incorrect.

I care deeply about this company, and I want a long and prosperous career here. How, when and to whom should I point out these errors for the good of the company? I have no desire to embarrass, hurt or make anyone look bad -- or to earn enemies. -- LITTLE FISH/BIG POND IN LOS ANGELES

DEAR LITTLE FISH: Frankly, much depends on the temperament of the executives with whom you're working. If the person is a self-important blowhard who needs to feel he or she is infallible, it might be better to keep your mouth shut. If, however, the misstatement could come back to embarrass the person at a later date -- or cause the team to lose credibility -- then correct him or her quietly and privately. To do otherwise could be perceived as trying to "one-up" the senior team member -- or worse, stab the person in the back.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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