Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.
My apartment is filled with pumpkins and orange lights, I have enough bags of peanut butter cups and candy corn to ride out the apocalypse, and I am busy deciding whether to dress up as Major League Baseball umpire Joe West or Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. It’s a real toss-up for me as to which is scarier.
As much as I do enjoy this holiday, however, it is certainly missing something from when I was growing up: trick-or-treating.
Sure, I enjoy Halloween as a grown-up. I like to put up my own decorations, to laugh at all the witty costumes, which probably would have gone straight over my head as a lad, and I do have a soft spot for pumpkin ales and Marzen-style lagers. Or any festive adult autumnal beverage. Or anything with alcohol in it. So I guess being over 21 does have some advantages. But I digress.
My point is, whatever happened to all the free candy?
Everyone arbitrarily stops trick-or-treating at some point. An unwritten rule floating around out there makes it taboo for us big people to go door-to-door begging for sugary treats.
It’s never totally clear when this mysterious cut-off is, but it’s somewhere around the time when you stop being cute and start being a surly, angst-filled burden on society/your parents.
Now, I suppose I agree some should face a trick-or-treating ban, especially those teenagers who roam in costume-less packs and don’t even bother to say “trick-or-treat” as they hold out their repurposed grocery bags, menacingly brandishing eggs and rolls of toilet paper.
But I am not like them, and I bet that you, dear reader, are like me: a law-abiding lover of complimentary processed carbohydrates. I’m a good, productive, relatively angst-free member of society. I wear a costume, I’m friendly, I don’t have a police record, and I would even offer a neighborly “trick-or-treat,” sans threats of vandalism.
Feel free to run a background check or to have a look at my resume. No violent crimes or vandalism, and plenty of solid references. I just want a Kit-Kat bar and perhaps a bit of conversation.
Let me be the first to say it: age discrimination on Halloween must be stopped. I really believe this represents the height of unfairness.
If a six-year-old dressed as a zombie or a serial killer stands on your doorstep and requests free candy, then he or she receives it without a second thought. But if I stand on someone’s doorstep dressed as that very same serial killer, asking only for that same free candy, I get is arrested and thrown into the county jail for the night. Granted, that was last week, but I think my point remains valid.
And everybody knows how cash-strapped students are. Once I get my stipend, I barely have enough left in my bank account after paying for rent and bar tabs to buy actual food — let alone my own candy.
Kids have it easy. They don’t have to work, they don’t have to drive places, they are guaranteed tuition-free education through high school, and they get to play in ball-pits and go to laser tag parties. I can’t tell you the last time that I was invited to a laser tag party.
It’s we university students — especially graduate students — who really deserve free candy. I’m not saying we should stop giving candy to school-aged children and reserve it entirely for college kids — actually, now that I write it, that policy does have a certain ring to it. So maybe that’s exactly what I’m saying.
But what I do think we all can agree on is that we should all be afforded the same right to acquire free candy from our neighbors on Halloween, regardless of age, so long as you are wearing a costume of appropriate complexity.