Nanny State

Halloween: A Teachable Moment?

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fat suit

Some (read: me) might argue that Halloween is the greatest of all holidays. No pressure, no big meal to prepare, no presents to shop for, no insane extended family—just pure fun. Booze for grownups, candy for kids, everybody wins.

Every year, news outlets run a few mask-suffocation and razors-in-apples stories in the name of "service journalism." (Now there's a scary costume: service journalist.) Now there's a new addition to the genre: The Don't Feed the Fat Kids story.

Three weeks out, the AP is on the case, with a perfect example of the form. The lede:

It wasn't the gruesome costumes or gory masks turning up at Lisa Bruno's front door that spooked her on Halloween. It was the pudge lurking beneath the costumes.

"The kids were just so huge," Bruno says.

I'm sure you could write the rest of the story in your sleep. Helpful hints: Give toys instead of candy, trick your kids into giving their hoard to you, etc. But this was the line that broke my heart:

Experts do suggest turning the night into a teaching moment about portion size and limits, lessons can that can be reinforced all year.

For Satan's sake, feed 'em broccoli every other day of the year, but leave the mini-Snickers alone! For just one night, consider the fat a creative opportunity. At least you're saving money on the fat suit for that would otherwise be necessary to complete little Timmy's picture perfect William Howard Taft costume.

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  1. No pressure? My department expects me to dress up as a friggin’ pirate!! I wouldn’t mind if they’d do the shopping for me…..

  2. I swear to god the nannies in this country fuckin’ piss me off so terribly.

    Is there a more fun country that’s simultaneously NOT full of killjoys?

  3. Some (read: me) might argue that Halloween is the greatest of all holidays. No pressure, no big meal to prepare, no presents to shop for, no insane extended family-just pure fun.

    Halloween runs second to April First.

  4. If this keeps the kids off my doorstep (and lawn) im all for it. ‘

    PS There are only two holidays, christmas and july 4.

  5. I’m waiting for equal time for the razor blade in the brocoli story. That’ll scare the health nuts.

  6. Are you allowed to eat jelly donuts, Private Pyle?

  7. NoStar!

    Plus winning the thread!

  8. The kids were just so huge,” Bruno says.

    Uhh, yeah, those weren’t ‘kids’. They were costume-earing 19-year-olds from the bad neighborhood across the tracks. Nothing new.

  9. Is there anything fun that older people used to do that they won’t deny to their own children?

  10. Is there a more fun country that’s simultaneously NOT full of killjoys?

    Holland.

  11. Warty,
    Private Pyle has dishonored himself and dishonored the platoon. I have tried to help him. But I have failed. I have failed because YOU have not helped me. YOU people, have not given Private Pyle the proper motivation! So, from now on, whenever Private Pyle fucks up, I will not punish him! I will punish all of YOU! And the way I see it ladies, you owe me for ONE JELLY DOUGHNUT! NOW, GET DOWN ON YOUR FACES!

  12. I believe, as with most things, Jack Chick has covered this “holiday” as the MSM has refused to do!

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0032/0032_01.asp

  13. My department expects me to dress up as a friggin’ pirate!!

    We must all do our part to combat global warming.

  14. We give away apples and razor blades as a “kit”. The parents actually drag their kids away from our door!

  15. I’m still angry that daylight savings time has been extended to include Halloween. I wasn’t allowed to trick or treat until the sun went down. Poor little beggars now will be too tired to extort a significant bounty of HFCS laden goodies.

    *sigh*

  16. When I was kid, I would TP houses on Halloween. When I got older (16-18) I defended my parents’ house by taking a hose to TPers.

  17. “The kids were just so huge,” Bruno says.

    I can only wonder if she doled out candy to the fatsos anyway for fear of being slaughtered and eaten if she refused.

  18. RE: Booze for grownups, candy for kids, everybody wins.

    Hay, Booze for the kids too! What are you, some sort of puritan? And its much more effective than razor blades.

  19. My parents never let me eat any God damned junk food ever! Halloween was practically the only time I could really eat “candy”. We were rationed Coke on occasion, but by and large – October 31 was truly Baphomet’s Feast. This is poppycock (and by poppycock, I don’t mean the delicious caramel covered popcorn).

  20. Making a holiday that cements the notion that candy is a treat for only special occasions is a very bad idea…it is better for kids to think candy is an everyday thing.

    Or simply forbidden….that is even better.

  21. Great !! Teach the littlest to beg !. Hey Kid, there’s free candy, health care (to include mental health) and your Mom will drive you to the better neighborhoods. None of this crappy candy corn wrapped in a paper towel. No popcorn balls, where’s the European chocolate, now !! You can grow up to work for the government, live off extorted money.

  22. the articles they mentioned didn’t even say that the government should force this issue just asked people to take a concern for the health of the nation’s children. so the real colors of “reason” come out now. we want children to grow up obese and then deny the obese adults we created healthcare and then sya it was their fault even though the responibility of lifestyle choices was forced on them before they were ready and caused htis.

  23. I really am horrified that there are people like you in theworld.


  24. we want children to grow up obese and then deny the obese adults we created healthcare and then sya it was their fault even though the responibility of lifestyle choices was forced on them before they were ready and caused htis.

    The Russian judges give this an “8”.

    Personally, I hope these do-gooders get a plastic lightsaber up the head the first time they try to lecture some chubby Sith Lord about the importance of healthy snacks.

  25. Gorilla suits. I dream of a day when Halloween will be replaced with Gorilla Suit Day.

  26. “I really am horrified that there are people like you in theworld.”

    Don’t worry, they’re just showing out.

    Just like the chubby little trick or treaters fighting for the last snicker bar.

  27. and then sya it was their fault even though the responibility of lifestyle choices was forced on them before they were ready and caused htis.

  28. You know if we end up with some damn government healthcare plan, then Halloween candy will probably be outlawed by the damn funless and anal retentive liberals, especially if you buy it in Wal-Mart.

  29. concerned observer – can you please put together an “argument” that is readable and cogent? If possible?

  30. @Art-good jo b atacking an argument I never made.

  31. @AO
    the fact that you people are too stupid to know what im talking about ismt my fault

  32. @AO- how about giveng one good reason why people shouldnt try to get kids aware about health issues at a time when obesity is literally killing children. this shouldnt be a problem especially when there are countries in the world where children are dying of starvation. so there we have it. in some countries kids die of starvation because no one in the developed world gives a damn and in the developedeworld especiallty the united states kids die of obesity because nobody gives a damn

  33. Concerned observer: But why do we have to do it 365 days a year?

  34. Concened observer,
    Although I don’t expect doctoral dissertation quality written English in posts written on the fly, could you at least make a minimal attempt to make your posts less cringe inducing?

    Thank you.

  35. Concerned Observer –
    Honey, I wasn’t even addressing you, much less attacking you. I was addressing the post.

    What are you on about?

  36. Oh wait, I get it now, Concerned Observer. You’re one of the funless and anal retentive liberals.

    Here, let me help you baby. Try pushing out against it. Helps it go in easier 😉

  37. Fine, J sub D, since you’re obviously one of those people who craves style over substance, I will from here on out waste time making sure my posts all use proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. It’s hard for me, though, since, well, I actually have a job, and I don’t have time to doublecheck every post.

  38. @Art-Ha ha. Very funny…What the hell are you talking about?

  39. Go ask your husband, honey. I’m sure he knows.

  40. Art if your not capable of being serious then don’t act like you are by posting on public issues.

  41. Fine, J sub D, since you’re obviously one of those people who craves style over substance, I will from here on out waste time making sure my posts all use proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. It’s hard for me, though, since, well, I actually have a job, and I don’t have time to doublecheck every post.

    Style is substance, at least partially. The form of a post indicates something of:

    1. The frame of mind of the poster
    2. How seriously they are taking the conversation
    3. Their facility with the language
    4. Education level
    5. Capacity to recognize and adhere to pre-existent social norms
    6. Level of respect for interlocutors

    None of which is trivial. Many people (including me) have jobs and even post from them. I’m blessed and cursed with a job that affords a crap-load of downtime, and arguing with folks here is a great way of filling that time. “I have a job” is a cravenly ridiculous reason for you not spending the minimal time or effort to use the English language correctly.

  42. Fine, Elemenope, if you read the above post I already said that I would adhere to English language conventions when posting, since it obviously gets your panties in such a wad when they aren’t followed to a T.

  43. Lol! You really are green aren’t you? And I don’t mean environmentally.

  44. LMNOP,

    “I have a job” is a cravenly ridiculous reason for you not spending the minimal time or effort to use the English language correctly.

    Content grade: B+
    Mechanics C-

    Overall Grade: C+

    Joez lawz

  45. concerned observer = Edward = Lefiti

    Ignore Me!

  46. One thing I’ve noticed is that the girls have bigger and more well-formed breasts at younger and younger ages. Must be something in the milk.

  47. Lol! You really are green aren’t you? And I don’t mean environmentally.

    Yep. He/she/it could have penned something like

    fuck yuo jsub D. I’mnot goign to put an yeffort into tlaking to a bunch od selfis hasshole libertaria ns.

    But, y’know, sensitive types.

  48. My parents never let me eat any God damned junk food ever! Halloween was practically the only time I could really eat “candy”.

    You too, huh? I treasured my Halloween candy. I’m still amazed my mom didn’t take it away.

  49. I agree with Katherine’s point that you can’t make up for 364 days of bad food choices by one day of not giving kids the candy they expect and ruining a fun holiday.

    If you want to teach people good eating habits, holidays aren’t a good time for it. It’s like complaining about all of the gravy and pie at Thanksgiving, the cookies at Christmas, and the cholesterol in Easter Eggs. Now, if you’re feeding your kids candy, cookies, and gravy covered eggs every day….

  50. My daughter loves Halloween more than any other day of the year. She’s walking on air right now.

    Apparently I will be dressing up as The Cat in the Hat. I cannot remember the last time I dressed up for anything. Should be interesting.

  51. Come on, the “teaching moment” concept is pretty funny. Let’s have “concerned observer” have a teaching moment about portion size with every obese kid that comes to his door this Halloween. It might help a child, and it will surely get Concerned Observer’s house thoroughly trashed when the fat kids get old enough to strike back.

  52. Welcome back, NoStar!

  53. Pro Libertate | October 9, 2008, 6:16pm | #
    Gorilla suits. I dream of a day when Halloween will be replaced with Gorilla Suit Day.

    JOHN COCKTOSEN

    Sage: yay! have lots of fun!

  54. NoStar:
    welcome back! Very glad you’re here!

  55. NO, I am not Edward. Edward never posts actual arguments.

  56. NO, I am not Edward. Edward never posts actual arguments.

    Ah, then welcome back Dan T.

  57. I also agree with Katherine, despite my earlier facetious remark about razor-apple kits.

    Halloween is an excellent time to educate children (and their tagalong parents) about portion sizes, which is why I only buy the giant bags of pre-portioned candy. It comes in little “1 portion” bags that the kids can take 2 or 3 of without worry. I explain to them, “Now don’t take too many portions or you’ll puke and your Mom won’t be too happy.”

    They seem to understand the idea, which is kind of like educating them, and it’s a lot more controlled than trying to count exactly 5 candy corns into a baggie times 200 baggies.

  58. The puking itself will probably teach them lessons that lectures at the door won’t. My philosophy on child rearing is that you should let them screw up in as many non-permanent ways as possible.

  59. No, I’m not Dan T. I first posted here a few months back, and I’ve been coming to laugh at you assholes regularly.

  60. I’m gonna be Sarah Palin for Halloween. Who couldn’t? I remember having to trick-or-treat and then go give all my candy to the homeless, and have them reject it. (None of them wanted it, for they didn’t have the teeth for it.) Some kind of twisted lesson for kids…

  61. I’m gonna be Sarah Palin for Halloween. Who couldn’t?

    Me too! I’m going to do a sexy librarian spin, with one of those plaid miniskirts. I haven’t found the perfect wig/glasses combo yet, though. And would a Miss Wasilla pageant sash be overkill?

  62. For just one night, consider the fat a creative opportunity.

    As a pear-shaped American, I do just this every year. I’m not going to try and squeeze into Spiderman tights just to end up with a funny caption on http://www.collegehumor.com.

    Here’s my recent Halloween track record:

    2005: Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski
    2006: Eddie (A Delivery Boy) from the Rocky Horror Picture Show
    2007: Jor-El from Superman: The Movie
    2008: The Penguin

    There are plenty of fun opportunities for men of girth on Halloween! Embrace them with both stubby arms!

  63. Halloween is boring. Same old. same old. Its a holiday for conformists.

  64. we want children to grow up obese and then deny the obese adults we created healthcare and then sya it was their fault even though the responibility of lifestyle choices was forced on them before they were ready and caused htis.

    Shouldn’t you be off somewhere frightening children with your scary laugh and broom?

    And welcome back NoStar!

  65. No, I’m not Dan T. I first posted here a few months back, and I’ve been coming to laugh at you assholes regularly.

    What, do you have some super-irony power or something?

  66. I first posted here a few months back, and I’ve been coming to laugh at you assholes regularly.

    How productive and reasonable of you! you come and waste your time here, just to prove how little you think of us?

    Actions tell us leagues more about you than you think.

  67. “I’ve been coming to laugh at you assholes regularly.”

    I thought you said you had a job and didn’t have time to do useless things like crafting proper and readable sentences, yet you have plenty of time to “come laugh at assholes”.

  68. “I have a job” is a cravenly ridiculous reason for you not spending the minimal time or effort to use the English language correctly.

    Mechanics C-

    Joez Lawz

    Say what? (My kingdom for a sentence diagram generator!)

    Subject (dominant simple clause): “I have a Job”
    Verb (dominant simple clause): is
    Predicate (dominant clause): a cravenly ridiculous reason
    Conjunction introducing subordinate clause: for
    Subject (subordinate clause): you
    Verb with negative particle modified (subordinate clause): not spending
    Direct objects of subordinate verb AND implied subjects of infinitive clause: time or effort
    adjective modifying primary direct object: minimal
    Infinitive: to use
    Predicate of infinitive clause: the English language
    Adverb modifying infinitive clause: correctly

    Sure, it would look messy diagrammatically, but it is grammatically correct.

  69. Gerunds take possessives, hence “your not spending.”

  70. “cravenly” is kind of an odd adjective to modify “ridiculous”, but I’m not all that picky…I think the sentence is good as it stands.

  71. cravenly would be an adverb.

    I can be anal-retentive too.

  72. Gerunds take possessives, hence “your not spending.”

    While traditionally true, it has become accepted to use an objective form in place of the possessive. It is a case of the written language converging towards the oral form, which has preferred the objective for quite some time.

    “cravenly” is kind of an odd adjectiv[al adverb] to modify “ridiculous”, but I’m not all that picky…

    Me neither, but I’ll admit it was odd. 😉 That, roughly, would be a diction error, not a grammatical one. (Take that, Joez Lawz!) I think New Mejican is the one who keeps score. He’s the poor sap with a degree in linguistics!

  73. Damn you, Syd, and your celerity!

  74. language converging?

  75. like “me neither”

  76. Ah, William Howard Taft.

    A famous story about him (at least famous in his day) is that while serving as Governor of the Phillipines, he had to undertake a long hazardous horseback ride through the mountains. On his arival, he wired Secretary of War Elihu Root that he was safe, to which Root wired back:

    “How is the horse?”

    Seriously, could someone as fat as Cleveland or Taft be elected president today? I doubt it.

  77. Seriously, could someone as fat as Cleveland or Taft be elected president today? I doubt it.

    John Goodman could get elected.

    Seriously, I saw it on The West Wing!

    (Yes, I know, pedants. He wasn’t elected to the presidency but ascended temporarily via the 25th Amendment. Still.)

  78. I gave out liver and onion samples one year…


  79. John Goodman could get elected.

    Seriously, I saw it on The West Wing!

    His* becoming king of england would be more likely.

    *thanx for the assist, cuz

  80. King of England.

    Or a joeslaw would have it, Engkand.

  81. In my neighborhood last year, there were approximately two adults escorting every one trick-or-treating child.

    The children were not allowed to run or be separated from their adults. They were not allowed to be loud, play, or explore. Each child followed the predetermined route set up by the HOA. At 6pm, Halloween was over.

    I do not have children, but if I ever do, I hope I can remember to allow them them to occasionally be children.

  82. In my neighborhood last year, there were approximately two adults escorting every one trick-or-treating child.

    We parensts still accompny our kids (< 10 years old) on trick-or-treating for acouple of reasons:

    1. So they and their friends don’t trample everyone’s gardens in their mad quest to get to the next cache of goodies.
    2. So the idiot teenagers with facial hair trick-or-treating don’t hassle them. This includes the male teengers too.
    3. So the idiot drivers on our streets who have no fucking clue to slow down on Halloween night don’t run them over.
    4. Since we’re already together, it’s so we can drink afterwards at someone’s house, whilst the kiddies gorge on gotten booty.

    and the most important reason:

    5. So we don’t have to stay home and dole out candy to everyone else’s brats and get berated by hysterical, busy-body fuckheads who can only say “I see fat people.”

    Well, maybe #4 is the most important reason.

  83. I know some parents escort their children to keep the kids safe. These parents, though, were also there to make sure there wasn’t an inordinate amount of fun.

    This year I’m going to give out liqueur-filled candy.

  84. Halloween 73′ was the best ever for me. The news was full of poisoned candy and razor bladed apples and them damnable hippies putting LSD in the popcorn balls. Dad was recently home from Vietnam and was abnormally jumpy. The rules were: just our street, only the people we know personally. NO homemade anything regardless of house of origin. Candy will be inspected before consumption. NO EXCEPTIONS!

    My friends and I waited till about 8:30 and went loudly all over the neighborhood tricking for treats. It was getting late, folks were trying to give away all the goodies and turn out the lights. I ended up with a paper grocery sack 3/4 full. An incredible haul. I had to hide it from my folks as it almost certainly would have been thrown out. It lasted almost till thanksgiving.

    As for the article. If people want to dress up their kids and pimp them out for free candy, I see it as my responsibility to have a huge tupperware bowl of good candy on hand for the little shitters. If they’re already fat, I give em extra, knowing its gonna take more to fill em up.

  85. No, I’m not Dan T. I first posted here a few months back, and I’ve been coming to laugh at you assholes regularly.

    So it was you! I’ve had the feeling for a few months that someone was laughing at me regularly, but I didn’t know who it was. Damn you, “concerned observer.” Can’t you spare an ounce of your concern for those of us who tremble at the thought of being secretly mocked by anonymous trolls on the internet?

  86. parse,

    He’s just another heartless, greedy liberal devoid of compassion or even a glimmer of humanity.

  87. “the articles they mentioned didn’t even say that the government should force this issue just asked people to take a concern for the health of the nation’s children. so the real colors of “reason” come out now. we want children to grow up obese and then deny the obese adults we created healthcare and then sya it was their fault even though the responibility of lifestyle choices was forced on them before they were ready and caused htis.”

    Yes, a whole article about how children should be allowed to enjoy Halloween and we’re the insensitive assholes.

  88. No, I’m not Dan T. I first posted here a few months back, and I’ve been coming to laugh at you assholes regularly.

    Then at least have the decency to continue posting so we can enjoy laughing at you too.

  89. Dagny T,

    Since everyone seems to have missed your costume comment (perhaps due to all the grammarian masturbation and troll baiting going on…)

    So, let me just say:

    Pictures or it didn’t happen! }:)

    Jake
    (who is just interested in documenting the facts. Honest)

  90. The puking itself will probably teach them lessons that lectures at the door won’t. My philosophy on child rearing is that you should let them screw up in as many non-permanent ways as possible.

    True, true.

    When my brother and I were kids, my dad had some cigars (somebody at work had a baby, I believe). Of course, we begged him to let us have one.

    So he did. My brother has never touched tobacco since. Me, umm, well . . . .

  91. Out of concern for the fat children, I will give them nothing but carrots and brocoli, and I will nobely (or is that nobelly???) eat the hershey’s, 3 musketeers, snickers, tootsie rolls, candy corn, reese’s peanut butter cups…all that chocolate sugar goodness…for the sake of the children’s health.

  92. Meanwhile our local Stop-N-Rob has a sign up that says, “Enjoy Halloween, but please take off your mask before you come in.”

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