The Corner

Trick or Treat

As a general rule I hate Halloween for no particular reason except that it is annoying and involves a great deal of the kind of manufactured jollity I find most unpleasant. Given the supermarket, drugstore and big box store shelves groaning with jumbo packs of candy lo these past two months, it is unclear to me why everyone can’t just stay home and gorge themselves on the things they like best without ringing each other’s doorbells countless times.

Still — because I am always trying to be a better person — I put our apartment on the list of candy-providers each year. So far this evening I have been struck by the number of parents who are parading around with children far too young to say “trick or treat” by themselves, doing all the work for them. The parents seem to feel that by saying “trick or treat” loudly, in that smooth, sing songy tone meant to indicate that this is play-acting, the fun quotient rises. Personally I find it hard to understand why said parents can’t wait a year or two until their children actually have a clue what they are doing — and can decide for themselves whether it is fun or not.

But, on a happier note, the media has again misled me into unnecessary anxiety. I read, yesterday, in the Washington Post about all the local Virginia parents who are so upset because their young daughters want to be sexy witches, sexy maids, sexy nurses, sexy, sexy sexy…you get the idea. The claim was that it was impossible to find traditional princess, witch, and fairy tale costumes in mainstream stores — and anyway the cool girls don’t want them.  I took the story at face value — because I live with three preteen girls and it’s clear to me that one has to actively resist the cultural push toward early displays of sexuality (that the children themselves don’t always understand). 

The good news, is that here on the famously liberal, progressive, non-judgmental, Upper West Side of Manhattan stores seem to have been selling far tamer costumes. In a 30 block walk home earlier I saw only Disney princesses, and fully covered witches, ghosts etc. Not one of the kids who have come to the door has worn anything remotely sexy.

So, either the Washington Post has overstated the sexy maid costume issue for prurient reasons — or my neighbors are more conservative on basic values than I thought. Either way… it works.

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