Cyrus Gill is a senior hospitality management and entrepreneurship and innovation major.
This article is not about obesity, slut shaming, or Satan; it’s about my favorite holiday, Halloween. Some claim Halloween to be unsafe, but who is looking out for the safety of the holiday itself? Despite all the posters, movies, and history, many of us don’t want our Halloweens to be creepy, spooky, or scary, but perhaps the scariest thing to happen to Halloween since Michael Myers is the phenomenon known as “Trunk-or-Treating.” This diabolical iteration of Halloween is a perfect witch’s brew of laziness and paranoia. You gather some friends from the neighborhood and park your cars in a lot where kids go around trick-or-treating from car to car instead of at houses.
According to a national survey conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, which is a global non-profit organization to prevent child injury, “Concerned parents see it as safer for their children, while other parents see it as an easier alternative to walking the neighborhood with their kids.” I would not be surprised if in a few years we just mail each other boxes of candy for each other’s kids. The invention of trunk-or-treating is completely oblivious to the point of Halloween and why kids enjoy it. Kids aren’t just in it for the candy, it is the adventure that induces feverish anticipation; dressing up, prowling the neighborhood in the dark, seeing other costumes, gathering candy.
I can’t even get past the name trunk-or-treat. Trick-or-treat is used at Halloween as a threat. If you don’t give the children treats, you will be tricked (or vandalized). So what does trunk-or-treat mean? Kids will trunk you if you don’t give them treats? Or, maybe as adults we have the option to stuff kids in a trunk? Bastardizing Halloween is a travesty, but shameful puns are almost just as bad.
“Trunking” reinforces the community-killing idea that kids aren’t safe outside their homes. And to those who believe trick-or-treating is dangerous, trunk-or-treaters are taught that it is permissible to take candy from the trunk of a stranger’s car!
At the same juncture, one can make the argument that trunk-or-treating is more community oriented for which the entire neighborhood comes together to ensure the safety of their children. Yes, our children should be kept safe, but do we sometimes tend to overstate the risk that they face? If you’re honest, you may concur. In case you’ve been watching too much television news, we can’t live our lives in fear of what might happen.
In the larger picture, what does trunk-or-treating show us about American society today? Is it really beneficial to shield your child from strangers and only exposing them to like-minded people, religions, and ethnic backgrounds? After all, we wouldn’t want children mixing with people who live, think, or act differently than we do. It just sounds like too much work.