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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Case Against Halloween

Fist and foremost, Halloween is dangerous.  As a parent, you want to protect your children.   What could be worse than putting them at the mercy of who knows what strangers put in their candy?  Yeah, I know you usually go calling on friends and neighbors for your trick or treating, but even so.   Why risk that someone next door who was a good person yesterday had some kind of psychotic breakdown overnight, leaving your kids holding the perilous bag.

But let's say the treats are what they're supposed to be:  good, wholesome candy.   The problem is that there is no such thing.   Everyone agrees that refined sugars are bad for you.   Sure, you can tolerate some.   But you and your children are better of eating more complex sugars - such as those found in fruit - and even less of that, if you can.   Instead, Halloween trains your kids in the worst possible eating habit: binging on sweets.

And the fundamental logic of the holiday is off kilter, too.   What does trick or treat teach children?  That, if someone doesn't reward you, your proper recourse is to mess them up?  And in the case of Halloween, the so-called reward - again, candy, which is no good for you - is in no sense justified.  You're not getting it because you did something out of the ordinary, or even just because you performed some task well, or did someone a favor.   Instead, you're in effect demanding the reward - because, again, it's Halloween.

Being a parent - our kids are now in their late twenties - I know it's not easy to say no to Halloween.  Kids, understandably, feel a sense of entitlement to Halloween and its candies, and resent not being allowed to reap what they see as justified bounty.   But life's not a piece a cake, and sometimes you have to stand up and refuse to go along with a tradition that's just stupid and dangerous.   Better not to demand cake and sweets from strangers on this or any other day.

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