Uncles and aunts must keep Halloween traditions alive

This is the best time of year to be an uncle or aunt. Aunts and uncles are essential for the socialization of their sibling's children because parents tend to be a little overprotective.

My sister-in-law is so overprotective she gets upset when I put her three-year-old son on the roof.

He threw the football up there.

How is he ever going to learn to learn responsibility for his actions if adults retrieve his errant passes?

Halloween is when uncles and aunts have to step up and continue the tradition of the holiday.

If left to the parents imagination kids will be running around neighborhoods collecting candy dressed as angels, ballerinas, Barneys, Shreks and Pokemon characters. My sister-in-law dressed her son in a frog outfit last year and a penguin before that. She said it was cute.

That'll scare the daylights out of people.

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There is nothing wrong with a frog or penguin costume as long as it has a big, bloody bolt sticking out of it.

Halloween isn't about cute. It's about getting freaked out. My brother's little boy loves having an uncle Fester.

Each year he receives a box of Halloween fright. Gargoyle doorknockers, glow-in-the-dark skulls, axed-off foot candles, bloody bolts and all kinds of amputated body parts in slime. Squeeze a couple tubes of fake blood over them, seal it up and ship it off.

His folks assemble everything in a darkened living room and it scares him enough he won't go in there alone. He won't even open the box by himself.

Then he calls to thank me for sending him all that “scary stuff.”

If I didn't he'll grow up thinking Halloween is bloodless and cute.

That's what uncles and aunts do—push the envelope. It's our chance to be kids again and this time we can annoy our siblings through their kids.

Water guns in the summer, noisy toys for Christmas and blood and gore on Halloween. Those little labels that say “for ages 15 and up” be damned.

There is a limit; my nephew has a spider phobia so I lay off the spiders that drop from the ceiling.

I've been told not to trick-or-treat at his house until he's at least seven.