Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trick or Treat! As long as you aren't starving...

So, we took the boys trick-or-treating last week. Actually, we went twice, in different neighboring communities. I know that sounds unethical, but they were towns we lived in before, and our neighborhood doesn't do anything for Halloween. Oh, technically they schedule trick-or-treating for certain hours on a certain night, but, as we discovered last year, nobody actually does it. Kids all dressed up, little plastic pumpkins at the ready, and not one house in the area giving out anything.

At the risk of sounding prejudiced, I guess it's just a cultural thing. It's okay to walk around with with giant pants hanging off your ass, a sparkly hat cocked sideways on your head and big, clumping workboots a size too big for your feet, but putting on a costume and meeting your neighbors, sharing a little candy, laughter and joy, that would just be weird.

Ahem. Sorry. I'm, still a little ticked off about last year. Halloween is my and Mrs. Write's favorite holiday. Anywho, THIS year we traveled back to our previous hometowns in the Columbus area (I figured we would go twice to make up for last year: 2008: -1; 2009: +2. The score is now even). The kids had a blast. People in Pickerington and Westerville are awesome! Everyone loved their costumes, put together by Mrs. Write and I for under $20... combined. Much candy was given out, with no old farts handing out apples, raisins or peanuts, going on about "Nature's candy."

I hated that as a kid. "Nature's candy?" I'm pretty sure that's weed, lady. Which I don't doubt you HAD to be smoking to think kids would gladly accept an apple on freakin' Halloween! Mrs. Write admits she and her brother used to go back to those houses at the end of the night and throw the apples at the offenders' front porches. Cruel, yes; but they deserved it.

The only low note on this fine SamHain? Trying to be a little more socially conscious. Trying to teach the kids a moral lesson, we signed up to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. You may have seen those little, orange boxes with the coin slot on the top. Both boys got one, and politely waited until the candy was given out before asking "Would you like to give to UNICEF?" They were all prepared with an explanation of where the money went and what for. Unfortunately, the almost unanimous reaction to this was anger, scorn, and even a telling-off.

Okay, people. Here's where I rant. It's not as if you've never heard of UNICEF. They ran the commercials al the time when I was a kid. They've been around forever. I know you probably aren't carrying change around in your pocket, but just how hard is it to dig up a quarter for a kid trying to do a little kindness during one of the greediest holidays of the year?

Man, people suck. Anyway, after a couple blocks of this nonsense, we reluctantly had the kids turn in their boxes to us, carefully explaining that it wasn't their fault. The kids were a little upset, worried they might have offended people. My youngest can be a real people pleaser. As Mrs. Write walked a little ahead of us, I clarified: "Some people just suck," I told them. This made them feel better.

At the end of the night, they had collected a little over a dollar from twelve houses. UNICEF has set up a partnership with Coinstar, so we dropped in a bunch of our change, plus the dollar or so the kids collected. It's a good cause and so convenient there's little to no effort involved (right up my alley!).

We tried to do this so the kids could learn a moral lesson, especially meaningful on a day when candy and compliments are handed out so readily to those who already have it in abundance. And what lesson did my kids walk away with from this?

Some people just suck.

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