(title is a joke, but really.)
When I was a kid, I remember the year that we had to have a chaperone while trick-or-treating for the first time. It was kind of a drag. We, as children, wanted to run screaming like wild banshees all over the place; that's sort of the whole idea. But we still managed to have fun with an adult present. After all, one or two adults, thirty or forty kids...we were still in charge!
If we had been given a 4-hour party at the fire hall instead, it would have taken away the entire point of Halloween - namely, participating in some tame chaos, scaring our neighbors, yelling until we were hoarse, TPing lawns, fighting for the most candy and getting to let out a lot of pent-up energy. You can have a party anytime. A party isn't a challenge; it doesn't offer a lot of exercise (and it was a workout to run around for 3 hours looking for houses that still had candy - I grew up in a rural area), and how many of those cranky old neighbors do you think would show up? About zero.
The adults in the article really miss the point of Halloween. It's not about the candy, it's about getting a tiny little taste of freedom and control over your own life. For a few hours a year, you're not on a short leash. You get to run and scream and cause mayhem. I enjoyed Halloween more than Christmas and Easter.
And in my entire childhood, not one single child was hurt on Halloween. No one got lost or murdered or kidnapped, and no one got fed a razor apple or cyanide candy. (I grew up in a small town like the one in the article, for the record. I don't know what it's like trick-or-treating in the city.)
I know the difference between anecdotal and statistical data, of course, so I have to wonder - do the statistics really say that children are at any significant risk if they trick-or-treat with an adult chaperone? Was there some sort of event that caused this, or is it just people getting hysterical again?