We can all agree that Halloween, as we know it, is straight up weird, right?
It took the awkwardness of explaining why we do what we do at Halloween to my 6 year old for it to sink in how little sense it makes.
He was asking the most basic, softball questions and I was mentally scrambling to figure out what my answer would be. There’s the somewhat accurate historicity version (PAGANS!!!), and then there’s the American version. We the people have done a wonderful job of creating an American version of pretty much every holiday or observance. And they all involve a party, getting something, and an appliance sale.
I’ll spare you my Q&A with him, but as I heard myself try to explain the tradition, it was impossible to make any clear logical links.
You see son, we dress up as scary/funny/spooky/sportsy/cutesy characters, and we walk the streets at night like a Village People gang, knocking on people’s doors and issue the idle threat of “trick or treat,” and they give us free candy, 90% of which we won’t let you eat because it’s either Tootsie Rolls or Smarties, PLUS candy is terrible for humans.
“Why don’t people just buy their own candy and eat that?”
Such an excellent point, of which I had no good answer.
The young lad’s question exposes the harsh reality that the economics behind Halloween are terrible. We complain about our financial planners only getting us a 6% annual return, and here we are buying 800 pieces of fun-size candy to pass out for free, while our kid dressed in a $50 plastic costume collects 100 pieces of “hush candy” from the neighbors. My math isn’t precise, but the ROI is DUM.
Of course the simple reason we do this is because that’s what we do. I did it as a kid, my parents did it as kids, and their parents fought Hitler both ways in the snow.
I fear that this Halloween Q&A will beget upcoming sessions around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
Yes, we are celebrating Jesus’ resurrection… that’s why the Easter Bunny, a mammal, is so excited for Jesus’ return that he hides candy inside fake bird eggs. Now, who wants more ham before we go refrigerator shopping?