Kids Trick-or-Treating Across Class Lines Makes 1%er Feel Faint
An unhappy rich person wrote into Dear Prudence this week with a crucial question raised by Halloween: do we have to be nice to everyone or just people like us?
I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets—mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. 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. Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which people hunt down the best candy grounds for their kids?
Prudence replied, “go to Costco, you cheapskate,” and I have never agreed with her more. You do not buy candy on Halloween to feed only the sugar-addled monsters from your own class. Halloween, as much as Thanksgiving, is a holiday about generosity. You buy candy in bulk and you give it away to strangers for the pure joy of feeling grateful that you have money to spend, and nonsense to spend it on, and neighbors to interact with, and the realization that you don’t live in a war zone / under Communism. “Halloween isn’t a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children” — YES IT IS THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS
Where I live, teenagers walk into stores wearing street clothes and stores give them candy, no questions asked. It is one night a year when that kind of brazen behavior is rewarded with M&Ms. Get into the spirit of the holiday or move to some kind of gated community with padlocks and barbed wire so that the rest of us can be protected from people like you.