DECATUR, Ill.–As parents panic this Halloween to protect their children from the virus that will make them go “BLORF” in the night, children themselves are fearing the repercussions.

Helen Redding could be found the evening before Halloween scavenging through the stores for what last remained of mini bottles of hand sanitizer; not to set out in her home, but to give out to trick-or-treaters.

“Last night I was over at my best friend Kate’s and told her how great the slime all over her son’s zombie costume looked,” Redding said. “She told me he wasn’t wearing a costume, and that’s when I knew we’d be in trouble.”

Maureen Russo still plans to give out the homemade candy apples that make her home one of the most popular on the block, but has what she believes is a safer way of distributing them this year.

“They’re the same apples, but I’ve stuck them on these 5-foot-long dowels I got at the Home Depot,” Russo said, brandishing one of her creations. “That should keep a reasonable atmospheric barrier between me and any contagions coming from the little darlings. I’ve even put that reflective tape around the other ends of the sticks so cars can see the kids better when they’re running along with them jabbing out of their buckets.”

Russo quickly added that she would advise the kids not to run with the sticks and that candy apple jousting would be strictly prohibited.

The treats are not the only aspect of Halloween under attack by H1N1 concerns. A dramatic change in costumes has been seen in the weeks leading up to the holiday, with popular choices such as President Obama, Wild Things and Young Michael Jackson quickly outsold by outfits including surgeon, Cobra Commander and older Michael Jackson with a Face Mask.

“I wanted to be a fairy princess,” 8-year-old Ally Peters huffed, donning a poofy pink dress followed by a fully concealing black hood. “But dad says I have to be a ninja princess.”

Even Larry Haskil, known as “Mr. Halloween” for the elaborate haunted house he sets up every year, has felt the need to make changes. The Lysol he has poured into his fog machines now gives the “Swamp of Despair ” a clean linen scent and the blob replica that pops out from behind his garage can now be squeezed to dispense antibacterial soap.

Haskil admits it brings a touch of Martha Stewart to his Murderville, but all sacrifices have been made with the youth utmost in his mind.

“In the end it’s all for the kids,” Haskil said. “And for all the great things about them, kids are vile, festering sponges of disease squeezing themselves out all over the place. What’s really scarier than them nowadays?”

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