The Daily Show explains "Halloween"

Originally published at: The Daily Show explains "Halloween" | Boing Boing


And since this celebration (however named) preceded contact with the “new world” there weren’t initially any pumpkins. That’s right, they had to laboriously carve out the insides of turnips to have something to put a candle in. boo.


Both my parents and my wife’s parents got really upset when we refused to teach our kid to beg. They resented it for years and bought it up pretty frequently.
Ah, just one more fond memory.

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What are you, some kind of Octobergrinch?


It’s not really begging, is it? More like, extortion. Give me candy or I will mess your stuff up!


We never sent our kid out begging for candy, we sent her out to pick up free candy from people who turned their porch lights on to let kids know where the free candy was being given out for free.


I have always loved Halloween for exactly this. Halloween is basically the only holiday we have structured primarily around your neighbors and community sharing in one of the most basic bonding rituals, sharing food. Sure we eat on Thanksgiving, but that is with friends and family. You might watch a fireworks display with your town, but you don’t interact with them as individuals.


Don’t forget: you also get to wear a crazy costume. AlLL DAY.

What other time of year do you get to dress up, all day, as a caterpillar and go to school, stores, work, etc., and everyone is totally chill about it?



I am surprised at the negativity elsewhere here on the topic.

I love the tradition of trick-or-treating. It’s the ultimate fulfillment of the social contract. It’s a whole neighbourhood full of people trusting strangers to take care of their children as they wander around unaccompanied in the dark, going door to door. In this age of helicopter parenting and local news that is all urban legends about stranger danger, I think this is among the most beautiful rituals we have.

Think especially about what this means to underprivileged kids. Here is a moment where they get to have, for once, everything the white kids from the nice side of the tracks are getting. They get something their own parents could not afford to get them- a big pile of candy for no reason, with no strings attached. Those white people get to see the cute little kids from that neighbourhood that they lock their doors when they drive through, and see they’re just kids who like candy, same as their kids.

If there’s an annual ritual that does more to build trust and understanding between strangers from all walks of life, I can’t imagine what it is.

I adored it as a kid, and I’m thrilled to be able to pay that forward by giving out handfuls of candy to all the kids who come every year. My pumpkin will always be carved, and my light always on. All are welcome.


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