In the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to write about something truly terrifying. Something so terrifying, in fact, that it would knock your socks off.
Michael Jackson’s nose and the prospect of another term for Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave were among the chief candidates for this Halloween special. However, I want to keep these articles reader-friendly and not morph into some sort of Stephen King.
Then something caught my attention: Halloween Grinches. Every holiday has its ample supply of Grinches, yet Halloween Grinches have gone largely undetected under the radar screen. Who are these miscreants who take cover in their pitch-dark homes, avoiding tenacious sugar-high trick-or-treaters? What motivates their disdain or indifference toward Halloween? Most importantly, are they an affront to society or are they actually conducive to the public good?
A prerequisite to answering these questions involves some formal understanding of what constitutes a Halloween Grinch. Let’s begin with the most obvious characteristic that I alluded to above: the “duck and cover Grinches.” These Grinches speed home, fighting the 5 p.m. traffic to shut the curtains, turn off all the lights, and sit quietly at home, convincingly deceiving trick-or-treaters of their whereabouts.
Then there are the “health-infatuated Grinches” who give out healthy treats like apples, as opposed to a wad of sugar-intensive saturated fat – also know as candy.
Moving on, we have the “social conscience objectors.” These Grinches think long and hard about the social implications of Halloween. For example, consider the account of a columnist from The Nation on the evils of chocolate. As Liza Featherstone claims, chocolate is not a social evil “because it makes you fat – or is ‘sinful,’ a weird pseudo-erotic marketing gambit I’ve never exactly understood – but because almost half of it, according to the Organic Consumers’ Association (OCA), is produced on West African plantations, where some 284,000 children are working under dangerous conditions, or have been trafficked. Obviously, giving Western children candy that has been made by enslaved African children is horrifying and twisted, if you stop to think about it even for a moment.”
Lastly, you have some “foreign-bred Grinches” for whom Halloween is not a part of their culture and, therefore, see no point to celebrating it. This is the case of British national, Hilary Boyd. As The New York Times reported Monday, “‘Living in an apartment [in London] has many advantages, and one of them,’ said Hilary Boyd, ‘is the joy of not being accosted by marauding bands of sugar-propelled, Americanized children every Oct. 31.'”
“‘All they want is sweets,’ said Ms. Boyd, a 57-year-old writer, sounding genuinely surprised. ‘They’re not scaring you, or singing to you, or charming you – they’re just grabbing it and going to the next house and then going home to be sick.'”
Together, the duck-and-cover, health-infatuated, social conscience, and some foreign-bred Grinches are unsympathetic toward Halloween for varying reasons. However, the question remains whether these Grinches should feel ashamed or whether there is some good to their apathy. As with every issue, this one can go both ways.
In defense of Halloween, one might point out that kids genuinely enjoy it and look forward to it every year. Moreover, parents can always limit a child’s intake on candy so that should not be a reason for discrediting Halloween as a whole.
As a rebuttal, though, one might argue that we do have an increasing problem with child obesity in this country, so perhaps apples and Snack Wells, as opposed to Milky Ways and Butterfingers, would be the best bet in the long run.
Obviously, in the case of Halloween v. Halloween Grinches, it’s a definite toss up.
Luci Storelli-Castro is a junior political science and philosophy major. Her column runs every Thursday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.