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Oct. 29, 2013

Nothing comes free kids

by Ross Cohen-Kristiansen, Managing Editor
When little butterflies and Power Rangers come knocking on October 31, no way are they sincerely wishing me a happy Halloween. All they want is my candy. I'll drop a piece or two in their baskets; they'll all give me a phony smile then set off for the next victim of their deception.

As the little "innocent" trick-or-treaters stroll from house to house, many adults are inclined to dish out sweets left and right. But sensible individuals, like myself, know just how conniving these little kids really are.

"This true American knows how to trade." Grace Wilson
"This true American knows how to trade."
Take toddlers, for example. With extreme caution and a parent close by their side, they inch slowly toward the front door before shyly delivering a slurred attempt at "Trick or treat." Out flows the candy. When the cuteness factor is gone, however, the candy stops flowing. Junior Max Salzman knows what he would do if a high schooler came a-knocking dressed as an insect. "I would slam the door because they're [with] a bunch of little kids in a bumblebee costume. That's a little weird," he says. But is that really any weirder than "wise" adults falling for the tricks of disingenuous kids?

No.

Halloween may seem like all fun and games, but stuffing bags with boundless amounts of candy is actually setting a terrible example for kids. I mean, look what happened to this girl.



We don't want our little trick-or-treaters getting accustomed to handouts because, after all, the Founding Fathers weren't a bunch of takers. The great US of A was built on commerce and fair trade, not on charity. If the little con-kids want candy, fine. But I want equal satisfaction in return.

Here's how to make Halloween a true red-blooded American holiday. It should not only be a night just about taking; it should also be about giving…little kids nightmares. If the princesses don't pay me in cash for the candy, then I'm going to scare the bejeebers out of them. Then we'll have a balanced trade.

So just remember, if a little kid walks away from your house crying on Halloween, then you've just helped to restore the American Dream.




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  • yes! (View Email) on October 30, 2013 at 6:40 PM
    i just laughed so hard i spit out my chocolate milk! and i love chocolate milk!
  • Alex B. (View Email) on October 30, 2013 at 7:13 PM
    Harsh. I'm not sure trick-or-treating should be considered too similar to "charity." It is a tradition confined to a single day, not a general reliance on the altruism of others.

    It's fine to be materialistic about it, but I'd hope that you had your time of tipping the scales your way when you were of trick-or-treating age. If you only realized now that they would have to tip back at some point (without your looking like a jerk), then I'd just say to follow your own advice.

    In fact, the traditions of barbeque on July 4th and Labor Day do not encourage healthy eating either, and have little to do with the particular subject matter (independence or veterans, respectively). The key point is that we need "breathers" scattered throughout the year to have something to look forward to when life gets monotonous. For teens and above, these holidays are occasions to get together with family and/or friends. Given the amount of time that passes between the more family-oriented Labor Day and Thanksgiving, Halloween is a kind of "rest stop" holiday that sees a good amount of partying and drinking among young adults. Is that setting a good example?

    And for kids, Halloween is one of the few occasions to be creative and wear costumes. To them, Halloween is at least as important as Easter (which sets a poor example with chocolate eggs and bunnies) and definitely more important than anything except Christmas and a birthday. By giving them a day in which they get one of their favorite things - candy - we are simply giving them a day akin to the day we give ourselves in the party scene.

    Those happily handing out candy are not fooled - they remember what their primary interest was when they were in the trick-or-treater's place. They fondly remember factoring in mobility and candy capacity in their costumes to maximize the yield. They remember having to plan their route well in advance and communicating with others as the evening wore on about which areas were most fruitful. They only think it fair to be giving back the candy they took.

    I think the tradition's relatively harmless; one night per year is not enough to change a kid's view on the way trading works. Not to mention that I've had my fair share of fun on Halloween: I once used an accidental face injury from the day before as a costume. More daring was being punctuation one year, and Sarah Palin in 2008.
  • Thomas Dylan on November 2, 2013 at 6:22 PM
    Alex B. I mean no disrespected to you as I see you are well educated. However your comments seem to be asinine. I can't fathom how an educated person like yourself, failed to identify the sarcastic nature of this piece. It was not meant to be serious. Not only that, but if tou look above, this article is in the humor section... You don't actually believe that this young man requests these toddlers to pay him to receive their candy? Had this been a serious article, I would agree with your well elocuted points, but you just wasted your time with that soliloquy.
  • i agree! (View Email) on November 3, 2013 at 6:56 PM
    I agree with mr. Dylan. I stand by my earlier comment, and I haven't changed out of my chocolate milk stained pants to remind me of this article's effect on me. You don't take the jokes on the colbert report at face value do you? Y'all need to get hip.
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