Halloween reviews

November 2nd, 2010

So how was your Halloween? Ours was good; I had a headache early in the evening so I didn’t go to W00Tstock, but I felt better after a while and took Milo on a longish walk to the house of friends whom I knew were doing it up well. (I knew this because one of them is Amazing Genius Science Girl, and she and I had raided the Davis Square Goodwill for costume material.* The day before Halloween is a fun day to be in a Goodwill, I tell you what.) There’s a street in our neighborhood that goes all out every year, and we went down that, too — it took 30 minutes to walk the block. Halloween is wonderfully scary and exciting and magical and inexplicable when you imagine it through the eyes and ears and nose of a dog.

And since we weren’t trick-or-treating, I didn’t run across anything like this, which a friend of mine posted on Facebook (quoted with permission):

ok-i get it. halloween-sugar treats-bad. yeah. yeah. yeah. but little mini packs of lemon flavored fish oil? Really? If you’re that devoted to your chiropractic practice for the town trick or treat…just give out stickers.

She later explained that the fish-oil packets “were gel packs–just to make it a bit more gross.”

Oh dear. Bad behavior on the part of treaters. On the part of trickers, there’s this. In a campaign to raise awareness of the horrific labor abuses in the chocolate industry (a worthy cause), kids are encouraged to visit houses to distribute fair-trade chocolate and tracts:

Along with tasty, guilt-free treats, the kids will be passing out cards with more information about why they’re the ones spilling the jelly beans on this holiday famous for its freebies.

I agree with commenter Andy Sauder who wrote, “That’s not trick-or-treating, that’s door to door witnessing.” Shaming people in the moment of their participation in a common social ritual is neither polite nor an effective way to get people to change their behavior. (Obviously I’m not blaming any kids who did this, as they may not realize this kind of social subtlety yet.)

* And, for me, a black dress that’s perfect for those occasions when you need to look dressy but dowdy, like a friend’s kid’s bar/bat miztvah or someone else’s book party, and a leopard button-down swing coat for spring. Boo yah, Jezebel, leopard is too an excellent look.


8 Responses to “Halloween reviews”

  1. delia on November 2, 2010 9:19 pm

    given that, what’s your take on kid’s trick-or-treating for unicef? at least the fair trade kids are giving something out

  2. Shulamuth on November 2, 2010 11:37 pm

    They are giving a lecture. UNICEF says thank you. I know what I’d rather get.

    All the kids in my neighborhood go to classier climes to trick or treat, and I got tired of giving out maybe three bunches of candy (and eating the rest myself — not good) so I turn off the lights and curl up with the cats and a book in the back of the house.

    Halloween has become very much an adult holiday as well out here in California, but I seldom go play. Part of this is because I’m a costumer and reenactor and I have plenty of other opportunities to play dress up — plus, I get tired of people saying “oh, I’m ashamed for you to see my costume when you are a professional!” especially since it’s generally said by people who are really clever and funny with what they are doing, and not the folks who just rented something.

  3. akmom on November 3, 2010 7:03 am

    Our neighborhood was shockingly devoid of trick-or-treaters. I was at a friend’s house, where they normally get hundreds of kids, and we saw maybe 20. It was odd.

    We had a good time, though – several families gathered for a meal before sending the dads and kids out to hunt candy while the moms shared some wine and handed out candy.

  4. Eeeeka on November 3, 2010 8:53 am

    We had about 12 kids this year. In my hometown, the kids don’t trick or treat to the houses. They’re too far apart, and I think the parents were freaked out about mountain lions or whatever might be lurking. So everyone trick or treats downtown. The stores hand out candy (except the dentist who gave out either toothbrushes or balloons depending on the year). It was really awesome fun.

    Plus it meant I went trick or treating until I was 21. :)

  5. KellyK on November 3, 2010 11:09 am

    The fair trade trick-or-treat thing is really aggravating. I saw somewhere else a much better suggestion about a pre-halloween campaign about fair trade candy, where people have the chance to pay attention to the ethical issues when they buy their trick-or-treat goodies.

    I’d also put UNICEF trick-or-treating ahead of this. Yeah, the kids are giving something, but the last thing a house passing out trick-or-treat candy really wants is…more candy. An unnecessary and unwanted gift totally doesn’t make up for the lecture.

  6. KellyK on November 3, 2010 11:18 am

    Fish oil? Ick. If you have such a warped view of food that you think that passing out candy on Halloween is an abhorrent evil, just shut your porch light off. Or give itty bitty candies instead of a big bag or a handful. Or find something that’s healthier (for however you’re defining healthy) but still an actual treat.

  7. Shulamuth on November 3, 2010 11:29 am

    One year we ran out of candy and gave dimes, which the kids seemed to appreciate. (Long time ago — I suppose the minimum would be quarters now.)

    The “healthy” people used to give apples, which while not treats and not gobbled on the night were good to eat. Then someone started the whole razor-blade-in-apple scare and ruined that.

  8. KellyK on November 5, 2010 1:57 pm

    Shulamuth, yeah, the danger of unwrapped items really puts a kink in doing anything homemade or fresh and limits the options of the “healthy” or “fair trade” or “organic” treat-giver-outers.

    Though I did hear an interesting attempt to work around that—someone gave out homemade cookies or candy with their name and address printed on every bag. Because only a complete idiot would poison or trap a treat and then put a “Hey, here’s who did it, please come arrest me” sticker on the bag, it gave some reassurance that the treats were safe.

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