Oh my lord, there’s a Halloween Grinch and she (or he) surfaced on Slate.com this week.
A person referred to as “Halloween for the 99 percent” wrote to Slate’s Dear Prudence columnist Emily Yoffe to discuss the “problem” of kids from poorer areas trick-or-treating in her neighbourhood, one she describes as home to “doctors, lawyers and family business owners” and a few streets over “billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.”
“Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate,” writes 99. “Halloween isn’t a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what’s the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday? But it just bugs me, because we already pay more than enough taxes toward actual social services.”
I’m not even sure where to begin with this asinine line of thinking.
First of all, who likens Halloween to a social service? If you don’t want to give out candy, keep your porch light off, hope no one eggs your car and shut the heck up. If you’re going to give out candy, you don’t get to ask for income statements from the trick-or-treaters’ parents or proof of address. If you’ve got some kind of problem with the amount of taxes you pay for these social services you imagine to be so plentiful, take it up with your local representative, not the wee Elsas and Batmans on your doorstep October 31.
Secondly, even though the writer hit upon it perfectly with “obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person (you are), because what’s the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday?” he or she still goes on to present this imaginary problem as a real etiquette issue. Yes, what is the big deal about making kids happy on a holiday? It’s the easiest thing in the world: Open door, offer bowl of candy, comment on cute costumes (optional), repeat.
And lastly, what is the problem with strategic trick-or-treating? America, especially, is meant to be a land of opportunity. Shouldn’t the writer applaud the entrepreneurial spirit of those trick-or-treaters and their parents who get themselves to areas with plentiful candy on Halloween?
Luckily Yoffe handles this privileged whiner with deft and cutting dismissal:
In the urban neighborhood where I used to live, families who were not from the immediate area would come in fairly large groups to trick-or-treat on our streets, which were safe, well-lit, and full of people overstocked with candy. It was delightful to see the little mermaids, spider-men, ghosts, and the occasional axe murderer excitedly run up and down our front steps, having the time of their lives. So we’d spend an extra $20 to make sure we had enough candy for kids who weren’t as fortunate as ours. There you are, 99, on the impoverished side of Greenwich or Beverly Hills, with the other struggling lawyers, doctors, and business owners. Your whine makes me kind of wish that people from the actual poor side of town come this year not with scary costumes but with real pitchforks. Stop being callous and miserly and go to Costco, you cheapskate, and get enough candy to fill the bags of the kids who come one day a year to marvel at how the 1 percent live.
Well handled, Prudence.
Now, where were we? Oh right. Hanging decorations and buying candy. As we were then.