As I make my trip to Costco today to stock up on Halloween candy I would have never guessed that trick of treating could be so contentious and cause for controversy. Kids and their parents are seeking out neighborhoods that offer more opportunity on Halloween. The newest outrage is whether or not you BELONG to that neighborhood and whether or not you are DESERVING of free candy. So if I understand this correctly, a holiday that is generally reserved for small children to dress up and go door-to-door begging for candy simply by saying “trick or treat,” are undeserving? Do they have to fit some criterion in order to get candy on Halloween? Aside from a costume and catchy line. No candy for you if you come from a different neighborhood.
So if they arrive on your block by vehicle we are taking note and not answering the door? Are we conducting profiling? Age, race, creed, social and economical demographics? Those appear to be a few of the factors in determining who will be recipients of this years sugar haul based on various interweb discussions.
Apparently some of our more affluent residents, neighbors and parents are up in arms about children who are shipped in from other, (and sometimes) less fortunate neighborhoods in order to partake in the festivities. These affluent neighbors, citizens, possible fellow parents, are indignant about these less fortunate children taking all the good candy.
I was rather confused to hear this and saddened all at the same time. Many thoughts ran through my head of which the first was: so only the “entitled, affluent” children get the good candy? Are you checking ID at the door before they trick or treat? Validating they live within a one square block radius of your privileged home? Maybe you are evaluating them based on their costume? Clearly that is not this years chic Halloween couture….here’s your fee for entrance to my neighborhood, oh and no candy.
Halloween was and is always about the candy. If not for the silly costumes, it’s all about how much candy you could stuff into a pillowcase. Or that was the case back in my day. Our goal was to hunt down as much candy as possible and brag about who or which house doled out what type. In fact our friends would tell us how their candy excursion was the following school day, and we would plan to converge on their neighborhood the following year if we found their loot to be far more superior. We could only dream of receiving the epic loot they incurred on the door-to-door adventure.
One post by a woman who boasted celebrity neighbors indicated that her paying higher property taxes is sufficient enough payment for social services within their community and that the candy should not be an additional charity.
I can’t be too sure of how taxes equates to free candy for children but okay. Your economics I suppose, or your ignorance to understanding social services.
Maybe I am older and wiser, or just delusional, to think that candy is just candy and kids are just kids. Could it be that my faith has shown me that Jesus didn’t preach and love in Talbiye, one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Jerusalem. He wasn’t hobnobbing with the tax collectors, boasting and denying the less fortunate his love and knowledge. Above all, he NEVER denied a child. He loved people. He loved to be out and among community.
Why do we act this way today? Is candy really that controversial that we would deny children the opportunity of one night of joy? Have we become so selfish and self absorbed that we have lost our sense of community? Or is it that our charity comes with a form of recognition. We only give to charity if we get our picture on the wall and someone recognizes us for our deed.
Do you remember when you took your child, or saw another child, trick-or-treating for the first time on Halloween?
I recall all of my kids as they sheepishly approached the door, shy and sullen to speak, barely uttering the words “trick-or-treat” loud enough to be heard. When the first plunk of candy echoed in the pails their faces lit up with confidence. Running to the next house. Shouting to the next resident their holiday beggars line. The joy was overflowing based on their accomplishment and they beamed.
How could anyone deny a child that moment? Well unless you are a total a-hole I suppose you could deny them.
Maybe I am missing their point. I could be missing the reason these folks feel so outraged about passing out candy to additional kids. As a resident of a middle-class, well maintained neighborhood I am blessed to have the opportunity to purchase the better candy. I am blessed to have awesome neighbors, community, and my children are able to partake in Halloween festivities. I am even more blessed to share with other children and their parents who may not be as fortunate. I am blessed to have folks knock on my door who aren’t from my neighborhood that want my candy. I am blessed to show my kids the power of giving and community. These children may come to my neighborhood or your neighborhood or other neighborhoods not only for the candy, but maybe their neighborhood is so overrun in crime and violence that they cannot enjoy this fun holiday. Maybe their parents cannot afford to pass out candy so they seek out neighborhoods that are seemingly friendly and inviting for the opportunity to see the excitement on their child’s face. Maybe you are the talked about neighborhood, the holy grail of awesome candy and awesome people.
Has our society become so detached from one another as a community and a whole, that we no longer connect on a basic human level? Or have we become entitled to our socioeconomic demographic that we are intolerant to people who aren’t in our salary bracket? I fear a community and neighborhood where the residents no longer wave. I fear a community and neighborhood where we do not chit chat with other residents and folks on walks or doing yard work. More over I fear the day that children stop knocking on my door for Halloween. That would suggest that our community is completely devoid of love, happiness, safety and opportunity for everyone. If you happen to be that person behaving like a stuffy ass about candy where is the harm about purchasing additional candy? Where is the harm in loving people and being with people. Again maybe my naivety for the love of Christ and all my neighbors, but I see a wondrous beauty in something so simple.
Take a moment of humility and be thankful you can brighten that child’s face for the evening. At the end of the day it is one night. One night a year for candy. You are not serving rack of lamb to a group of ungrateful toddlers, you are sharing confectionery goodness with a child who looks forward to pretending to be someone they are not for the night just for the opportunity to see what candy you might share. Because it is all about the kids, costumes and candy. If you have to, just pretend for a moment you are not that selfish and , pretend to be love this Halloween and share in the joy of children.