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Should efforts by made to stump out Halloween?

ChristianKl          1 November 2015 10:05 AM

On Halloween a person A asks another person B to either give them a gift "treat" or suffers a punishment "trick". Commonly that dynamic is called extortion.

If we think about what cultural values we want to teach children on special holidays, I think nobody would write "extortion" in his braimstorming list. Even people who consider it fun to extort other people wouldn't write in down.

At the same time our society allowed the custom to spread. We shouldn't. We shouldn't cooperate with it by teaching our children to engage in it. We should neither cooperate with it by handing out treats, or even opening the door.

Children themselves are likely to be too young to be persecuted for extortion. Their parents however might not be.

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aliad 1 November 2015 08:01 PM

I think modify rather than stomp out would be a better strategy. In many neighborhoods it's already becoming customary to only go to lighted or decorated houses. Suppose you combine this with a campaign to change to catchphrase from "trick-or-treat" to "candy for costumes" or something like that. You could then present the lesson to kids that they are taking up the offer of a voluntary exchange of candy for looking cute in a costume.

Then you're not a party pooper how trying to stop people having fun with dressing up and eating candy, you're only targeting the 'trick' part of the tradition which is pretty marginal already.


Dahlen 3 November 2015 10:05 AM

This is the first time I've ever seen advocacy against Halloween that wasn't put in terms of religious moral panic (that it encourages devil worship, just like rock music and fantasy fiction), or nationalist anti-globalisation panic (stupid Americans with their made-up consumerist holidays).

Around here, Halloween usually means themed parties in local nightclubs, or kids asking their parents to buy them scary masks. Sweets and the associated means of obtaining them aren't given much thought; that practice hasn't caught on. Trick-or-treating is best suited to a suburban housing pattern, and doesn't work well in large cities for simple reasons (door phones blocking access to non-residents in apartment buildings). I say, don't worry too much about it.


Alice 1 November 2015 11:26 AM

Many of today's holidays and traditions have originated from things we cannot celebrate today. The passover seder explicitly mentions the killing of the first-born Egyptian children as one of the 10 plagues. I'm sure one can find more examples if one tries. But we don't put this kind of meaning into these traditions and rituals anymore. It is completely up to us what meaning we associate with them. In this way we change the traditions as we continue to observe them, which I think is the whole point.

I don't think anyone feels threatened by the trick-or-treat requests today.


Fwiffo 2 November 2015 08:41 AM

"tit-for-tat" isn't a super immoral or maladaptive mindset to teach.

I think people are responsive for optout strategies if they are employed before the door is opened.

There is also a case that things are expected of children. Demonstrating that adults are also capable of living up to obligations towards children fosters trust. A lot of benefits chilren receive are not super relevant to their daily lifes. They can complain about having to go to school. However candy is something they get how it was caused by someone in their community and how they are the beneficiaries of it. Having a sense that he public is on your side instead of against you can be important. You don't want anon to say to you "expect us". A wife can complain that "you take me for granted". In a same sense "thanks for not performing pranks on me 24/7 for 364 days" can be important.