This article is on the general well-being of today's society. There is a disease that is infecting the heart and soul of our nation. Our children are being rushed into adulthood before they are really sick of childhood.

Imagination and a clever wit are being sold for the latest computer game or TV show. Tenacity, determination and a strong work ethic are being traded for television, a bowl of cereal and a couch. I think we can all agree that the vast majority of today's social maladies can be blamed on the lack of proper Halloween preparation.

Recently I asked my 12-year-old nephew what he would be for Halloween, and he declared that he would not be trick-or-treating this year, as he was too old — disturbing ... very disturbing. Twelve years old is the first of the prime trick-or-treating years.

That was the first year that I went out with no parental supervision.

At 12, I was finally strong enough to manage a pillowcase-size candy bag.

As for being too old, that's baloney! I wasn't "too old" for Halloween until I turned ... well ... between trick-or-treating myself, taking nephews and nieces and now my own children, I've never missed trick-or-treating.

Lack of a proper costume should be a class C misdemeanor, punishable by jail time. Last year one of the neighbor kids came in his sweatshirt, jeans and baseball cap. I asked what he was supposed to be and he pointed to the "Nike" logo on his hat and said he was a Nike sales rep. I don't want to see pre-adolescent Nike reps trick-or-treating. I want to see pirates, princesses and children in furry animal costumes.

Some kids complain that they can't get the premium candy from their neighborhoods so they just won't go out at all. Those kids need to do a little research. It is necessary to scout the neighborhood, ask around at school and determine a route that would best utilize time and effort. When I was in my prime, my friends and I did the necessary work and in return we got full-size candy bars, McDonalds gift certificates and even a few dollar bills.

It's never too early to be gearing up for Halloween. Honestly though, nothing puts a smile on my face and contentment in my heart more than pirates being pirates, princesses being princesses and furry animals being furry animals.

Halloween is one of the main holidays, and when our society gives it the proper respect, then the healing will begin. TV will only be used for football, cell phones will only be used for phone calls and rap music will never be heard again.

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