Costumes, Candy, and Kids

My son loves Halloween. He starts thinking of his costume around January 22 every single year. We tend to keep a few on hand because he also loves comic con (well, at least for the first 37 minutes). Cosplay is an honored tradition in our home so the Halloween season generally picks up where the convention season leaves off. Costumes and cosplay for everyone and fun had all around.

I should probably mention that my son is 15. He’s about 5’7 and has a budding mustache. And, he still loves to trick or treat. There’s an absurd amount of debate over when kids should stop being able to celebrate. I can’t for the life of me fathom this. Kids who are trick or treating are generally not getting into other kinds of mischief. Why wouldn’t you want to encourage trick or treating regardless of the age? I mean, that’s just logical.

The other thing should be obvious but I know it’s not. Not all disabilities or differences are worn with big neon signs. For example, I have two small nerve tumors in my lumbar spine. The one on the right side is right next to a disc bulge and compresses the sciatic nerve that goes down into my right leg. This, of course, is extremely painful and makes doing everyday things more difficult. That said, if you didn’t know me, my spine, or have x-ray vision, you’d never know I had that issue. I don’t look like I have an accessibility issue, but it doesn’t stop me from having one or needing occasional assistance to get around safely.

The same is true for kids. You can’t always look at someone and tell they’re developmentally atypical. Does it really hurt anyone to give the big kid in the Minion costume a Snickers bar? No. But, it will hurt if that kid is turned away for looking “too old”. That’s such an abstract and social concept, it might be hard for that kid to understand.

I got into an argument earlier with someone who suggested that I keep my kid home because “society doesn’t owe you or your kid anything” and “if he gets arrested for being an old trick or treater, it won’t be the person who calls the police’s fault, it will be yours for letting him go”. Really? I mean, I know that the police are called for all kinds of “dangerous activity” (going into your own house, selling lemonade, babysitting kids who don’t look like you), but really? Police involvement because a 15 year old dressed like Tuxedo Mask knocked on your door and said, “TRICK OR TREAT!”

What are we coming to as a society when we say “the world doesn’t owe you kindness” but also “the world should arrest old trick or treaters” because they “limit the candy supply for little kids?”

So, it’s not about my son because, how dare I expect people to show him decency, but it is about your right to be an ass.

Okay.

Let’s try this instead. As long as the kids who show up to your door are nice and respectful, give them the candy you would give any other nice and respectful kid. I didn’t think we as a people should need such lessons in common courtesy and inclusion, but here we are.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

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