Last Monday night I walked through the streets to witness the Halloween festivities for myself. What I saw deeply saddened me.
Children dressed up in costumes and singing songs were going door to door asking for free handouts of candy from their neighbors. And interestingly enough, their neighbors were gladly obliging with loads of un-earned sweets. There was no transaction of labor or capital, and no signed contract – just free candy.
Is this the kind of laissez-fair attitude of entitlement we want to instill in our children? That without working they can still receive free Skittles, Mars Bars, and Cheetos chips?
I asked a ten year old girl what she thought about Halloween, and her response realized my worst fears: “I think Halloween should be everyday!” she told me excitedly, before opening a Snickers bar and inhaling its contents. Already she thinks that every day she deserves a free handout.
The Halloween trend wouldn’t be such a worry if it wasn’t so pervasive. When asked why he was out collecting free candy, an intelligent 11 year old boy dressed up as a pirate put it this way, “99 percent of kids are out collecting candy tonight, so why wouldn’t I join in?”
I promptly told him that those 99 percent are weak and lazy, and that the 1 percent who stayed at home will grow up to be rich and powerful.
He merely shrugged as if he didn’t know what I was talking about, and then ran off to join his group of friends. All of them were dressed as mutineers.
What really disappointed me though was the way in which I saw parents’ enabling their children’s expectant behaviors. Parents were literally holding their child’s hand as they walked them to each house. Years later when these children turn into young adults walking to the welfare office to pick up a monthly cheque, will their parents still be holding their hand?
Parents need to open up their eyes. They are already providing food, shelter, and clothing for these kids. By also providing free candy on Halloween they are only perpetuating a vicious cycle of entitlement in our children, an attitude that will indebt us all when these kids grow up to expect everything else in life to be free.
The pirates and princesses collecting free candy in our neighborhoods today will grow up to be the entitled hippies and students occupying our financial districts tomorrow.
We need to ask ourselves, is Halloween teaching our children the right lessons?