The Politics of “Trick or Treat”

Let me say from the outset and in the interest of full disclosure, I am a Halloween Scrooge.  I hate everything about this so-called holiday.  I hate the ghosts, the witches, the skeletons and the failed attempts to make really cute kids cuter by dressing them like animals from the jungles of Borneo (your kids are awesome!  Don’t try to improve on them).  I hate when adults take this annual druid love feast and turn it into an excuse to exchange productivity at the office for a walk down memory lane dressed as Raggedy Ann.  I hate the fact that this is the only time of year I can eat my body weight in candy corn without drawing disapproving glances.  I hate that among a significant portion of the teenage population I can’t tell whether some are wearing costumes or not.  Most of all, however, I hate the tradition of “trick or treating.”  Upon much reflection in my cold little office heated by a little coal stove burning one little briquette at a time stoked by old Bob Cratchit, I have concluded that somewhere in the mists of history, it was a Democrat who said in his or her best Jon Lovitz voice, “Trick or treat.  That’s the ticket.”

“Oh, Mark!” you cry, “How can you make something as innocent and sweet as little Sally going door to door in her ballerina tutu saying, in her angelic voice, “Trick or treat” something so political?”  I’m glad you asked.  The fact is (if you’ve read my “About Me” section, you’re probably chuckling a little bit, now) that in conservative circles, modern Democrats are notorious for two major offenses against the American people:  making them feel entitled and, in turn, making them dependent.  All other objections to liberal ideology stem from these things.  You see, the idea of “trick or treating” is this:  I go to the door of someone I don’t know and tell them “Give me a treat that you had to work to buy or else…”  The “or else” attitude stems from a notion of entitlement.  I dressed up and came to your door so I am entitled to receive some candy (and please, no fruit.  I hate getting fruit for Halloween.  It’s like getting socks for Christmas).  I know I didn’t actually work for the money to buy the candy, but you owe it to me anyway!  That’s entitlement.

But then, it goes on.  I show up at your house next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.  I am now dependent on you to provide me assorted sugary concoctions once a year.  And there are those of you out there (go on, admit it) who LOVE this.  You decorate your houses every year in ways that would make Clark Griswold proud and practically sing the song of the siren to get me to come back.  I’m hooked on the handout.  I can’t stop.  That’s dependence (ironically, you also spent 75% of your gross income to buy chocolate kisses and peanut butter logs and now can’t afford to support the local ministry that helps those who need things like shelter, nourishing food, clothing, and an opportunity to succeed, not marshmallow pumpkins).

It’s no wonder that we now have a generation of adults who think that they are owed something, that they are entitled to something.  They all went “trick or treating” as kids.  Sure, there are people who really need help, and shame on us if we don’t help them.  But the moment we make them feel entitled and make them dependent on our help, we have stripped them of their very souls.

So, I really don’t like Halloween.  It sets a bad precedent.  If you want to bring your kids over to play with my kids, great.  If they need help with their homework, or even dinner, they are more than welcome.  If they come wanting to beg for candy, they need to get a job.

Incidentally, I know we parents have got to pick our battles, so I’ll reluctantly be taking my kids trick or treating tomorrow night.  But I won’t like it.

Be safe.

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4 thoughts on “The Politics of “Trick or Treat”

  1. Paolo, thanks for stopping by. I don’t know if I agree with you. I think that the 8 year old mind probably does think something is owed to it (though the child would likely not frame this desire semantically as an “obligation” — understand we’re still working within the limited life-experience of a child). The eight year old is really not the point, though. What I’m saying, admittedly a little tongue-in-cheek, is that many do not grow out of this mindset as they progress in age.

    Best wishes.

  2. I agree, we should stop all this free candy stuff, bUy me a gift, ring my doorbell and say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” instead of “Trick or Treat”
    AFTER ALL…IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!
    THE REAL REASON FOR OCTOBER 31ST!(at least since 1962)

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