“I do not understand this person on any level. Buy candy and hand it out. If you run out of candy, turn your light off. The end.” —Molly with the Mediocre Hair, Jezebel Commenter
As my regulars know, about a year and a half ago, Mr. Wallace and I traded our beloved city life for a house in the ‘burbs. Suburban life… has its downsides; but I’ve discovered there’s one arena in which The Suburbs will defeat The City every single time: Halloween. I grew up in a suburb, but after living the entirety of my adult life in a major city until my very late thirties, I’d totally forgotten how absolutely awesome suburban Halloween is! Last year was our first, and we were unprepared for what freaking fun it was to hand out candy. We talked about it for weeks afterward, we marveled at the cuteness of the kids, and we started plotting Halloween 2019 almost a year in advance. In short, we made little kids on Christmas morning blush.
And now I do not understand the suburban Halloween scrooges. I’ve known they were there for years now, thanks to two pieces of writing that circulate on Facebook every late October now. But I do not, and will not, comprehend their asshattery. If Halloween bugs you that much, just, like, don’t participate?
The first is this Facebook meme thing that seems to pop up every year, which I’ll reprint in full:
“Please keep in mind, a lot of little people will be visiting your home. Be accepting. The child who is grabbing more than one piece of candy may have poor fine motor skills. The child who takes forever to pick out one piece of candy may have motor planning issues. The child who does not say “trick-or-treat” or “thank you” may be non-verbal. The child who looks disappointed when they see your bowl might have an allergy. The child who isn’t wearing a costume at all might have a sensory issue or autism. That big boy, might “appear” to be an adult, but may be developmentally delayed.” -Source unknown
I don’t disagree with anything said here, but it begs the question: what is wrong with people that they need to hear this??
Look, if you are the type of person who gets all mad and prissy about whether a four-year-old remembers to say thank you on a night he’s hopped up on sugar, out past his bedtime, and overstimulated, you don’t have issues, you have volumes. Get thee to therapy, stat. If you are the person who appoints themselves the Trick-or-Treating Age Police, then the stick is so far up your ass you’re likely on the verge of hemorrhaging. Please get to the ER immediately instead of handing out candy. If you are so lazy that you can’t just drop a predetermined one to two pieces of candy into each kid’s bags yourself, but instead prefer to get pissy about how many they take when they can’t read your mind, do the world a favor and please just sit this holiday out. I mean, really.
What is wrong with people? They can’t just accept that Halloween is for the kids, that it really doesn’t matter how old they are or whether they dress up to your satisfaction, and that your life is actually not ending at the stroke of midnight because a five-year-old forgot to say “trick-or-treat”?
The second yearly-circulated piece is what I assume is the second-most famous Dear Prudence letter ever written (the most famous is the twincest letter, duh): the What Can I Do About the Poor Kids Who Trick or Treat in my Rich Neighborhood letter. If you haven’t seen it, do click over and lose your lunch. It’s quite a read, and Emily Yoffe is wayyyy too nice. When I read it back in 2014, my then city-dwelling self living in a neighborhood that couldn’t really do Halloween felt as disgusted as everyone else. But now my disgust has gone from abstract to concrete.
So, we live in, certainly not among the 1%, but a well-off, “destination district” suburb that is one major road and a county line away from several lower-income suburbs. We (meaning our town) also take Halloween quite seriously. There’s a house a couple blocks over from us that hangs an electronic scorpion from their second story windows. So yes, people from the lower-income neighboring towns drive over and walk our neighborhood for candy.
I speak from experience when I say this is… not a big deal. At all. Letter-writer, let me go where many have gone before and tell you that you are a giant, snobby asshole. I knew that then, but like I said, now it’s concrete for me. Now I cannot overstate the disdain I hold for people with those attitudes. Check your privilege, shithead. Share your good fortune, especially since it’ll cost you a whole $20 for a bag of candy at Target or Costco. Let Halloween be about one fun night a year for kids – ALL KIDS – instead of ignorantly spitting entitled rage about your fucked-up version of meritocracy. This is all probably not even possible as you’re a terrible, terrible person as evidenced by what you shamelessly wrote for the general public to read.
As for me, I’m super excited about Thursday! Mr. Wallace and I will prepare a cocktail (like the one I’m sharing with you today. SYNERGY!) and park our butts on our front stoop – on cushions of course. We will mound all the candy into bowls and enjoy a most pleasant evening greeting children of varying ages, races, and income levels as they trick-or-treat our neighborhood. We will give them candy until it runs out, then retire inside and turn off the porch light. We will compliment their costumes, and occasionally ask what one is as we are childless and clueless about most things Kids These Days. Although I think I get Elsa and Marshall from Paw Patrol now. Are they still popular?
Seriously, if you can’t just go with it and let it be about the kids, if you have to pick apart each child’s every word and movement, if you even entertain the thought that maybe poor kids from the other side of town don’t deserve to walk down your Guilded Zip Code streets, then just turn off your porch light and stew in your own crapitude while the rest of us enjoy this one adorable, spooky, corn-syrup laden night.
Julia Reed's Scotch Old-Fashioned
- 1 large strip or square of orange peel, scraped to remove as much pith as possible (the paring knife is your friend here)
- 1 sugar cube
- 3 to 4 dashes orange bitters
- 3 to 4 dashes Angostura bitters
- 3 ounces Scotch
- 1 orange slice, halved or quartered or however you want to garnish your drink
- In a rocks glass, muddle the orange peel, sugar cube, and all the bitters with 2 teaspoons of cold water. Swirl to make sure the liquid coats the entire inside of the glass. Add ice and the Scotch, stir well, and garnish with the orange slice.
- Makes 1 drink as written. Easily doubled.