Review of Halloween 2019

Review of Halloween 2019

Johnny Stern, Vice President

It’s a familiar sentiment for many of us: the shiver of anticipation we had before Halloween as we adjusted our costumes, made sure all the tiny buttons were buttoned and the laces were laced, aligned the plastic masks with our little wide eyes. We darted into the often dreary and rainy night, searching for houses with their porch lights on. They were oases of warmth and generosity, especially if they gave out king-size candy bars. At home, while our parents chatted, we dumped out all our candy onto the carpet and arranged it according to size, or value, or maybe even color. I’ll always remember going to bed that night, sad that next Halloween was a full year away but happy that I had abundant candy for the next few days.

As I’ve grown and started handing out candy rather than receiving it, the magic has faded a little bit. For one, I can stroll down to the CVS anytime I want and buy as much candy as I can. Sweets and treats aren’t exclusive to Halloween anymore. Now, eating seven king-size Snickers bars in one night isn’t cute — it’s gluttony.

If you pay attention to the TV commercials, you’ll see more Halloween-related advertisements than you can count. Every company, and every brand, must try to cash in on the candy craze, offering the sweetest deals. The commercials’ formula is simple: an adorable first-grader in an absolutely awesome costume nervously approaches the porch. They tentatively ring the doorbell. The door opens, and they smile their cutest grin. “Twick or Tweat!” they say. A charmed adult gives them a huge handful of candy bars. These commercials make it seem like as a kid, you’re entitled to candy — specifically, the biggest, best candy.

Even this Halloween, I see the effect these commercials have had on kids. They’re still cute, but often, the focus is on the candy more than the costume or experience. I’ll use an example. A little kid rang the doorbell and I opened the door. His costume was fine, but not spectacular. No one spoke for a few eternal milliseconds — no trick or treat! or anything like that. With sealed lips, the kid thrust out his bag in front of himself. He stared at me with expecting eyes. Hey, gimme the candy already! I stared back.

“Happy Halloween,” I finally said. I dropped two bite-size chocolate bars into his bag. The kid muttered a quick “thank you” and darted down the porch stairs, off to another house to enlarge his candy collection.

I understand that some kids may be exceptionally shy or scared to approach a stranger’s house. And there are plenty of wonderful kids who still exclaim Trick or treat! and show off their homemade costume. But overall, Halloween is becoming more about stocking up on candy at strangers’ expense than coming up with a creative costume, wandering around the neighborhood with friends, and tasting the rare flavor of a mouthwatering Hershey’s chocolate bar.