Dear Prudence is often a cesspool of awful people needing awful advice for their awful problems. And then Prudence sometimes gives awful advice. This week, the advice is good, but the question? So awful you may want to take your laptop and throw it against the nearest wall. (I know I did, but Applecare doesn't cover that and I can't afford another mid-range notebook computer.)
Here's the thing: The question you are about to read will give you the Halloween shivers and will make you want to vomit. Trust me, that's normal. Because if there's anything worse than someone judging others for their socioeconomic status, it's someone judging others for being poor while trick-or-treating, suggesting that even in free candy there are some kids who deserve less.
Here's the question, written by a rich person who doesn't want Halloween to become welfare because s/he already pays enough for welfare, goddamnit:
I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more "modest" streets—mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. Halloween isn't a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what's the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday? But it just bugs me, because we already pay more than enough taxes toward actual social services. Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which people hunt down the best candy grounds for their kids?
—Halloween for the 99 Percent
While Prudie's advice is solid (stop being such a giant ass), the most important thing is that someone takes their wealth so seriously that they're refusing to even entertain the idea of just getting into their Lexus, rolling down to Costco and buying a giant bag of corn syrup. It's like they're so concerned about losing their modest riches (nice mention that you're not that rich, letter writer) over a bag of candy that they can't fathom the idea that Halloween is just about free candy and not about making sure that the poor stay poor, in their place and without full-size candy bars. Because a full-size Snickers would make them greedy. Once they'd bit off a piece of that delicious mix of nuts and chocolate, they'd want more; a Butterfinger perhaps, or a king-size crunch, and then who knows? Maybe they'd come for your good china next.
There are two things 99 could do.
1. Get two bags of candy and give the poor kids Necco Wafers so they never return. This would, of course, cost more money and 99 would have to recognize every kid in their neighborhood, but it would probably seem more fair to her warped sense of morality. (To be honest, I have no idea how 99 even knows whether the kids are from the neighborhood or not. I've lived in mine for over 10 years and I can barely recognize the neighbor child.) (Is it a race thing, you think?) (Duh.)
2. Get the fuck over it and recognize that everyone deserves candy and that suggesting that kids should "stick to their own kind" on the one night when sugar is free for them is elitist and crappy as hell and makes you a terrible person. When I was a kid my parents took us to the rich neighborhoods for candy, and it wasn't just because the loot was better but because we would have been hard-pressed to find more than one to two houses handing out candy on our block. Should we have said "hey, we live in a fairly quiet residential neighborhood that would be considered middle-class, we should find a similar neighborhood that's not above our pay grade but gives out more candy" or gone for a neighborhood that was a sure thing? (We did the latter: It was awesome and we never started a revolution, even though we are Russian and could have totally taken over some rich people's houses and made them lie under the floors while we ate all their candy and watched all their cable and went to their good schools and used their sinks.)
Here's another option: Don't give out candy this year. No one gets any. That's trickle-down economics (I think). And also prevents others from having to deal with your bad attitude. Incidentally, if anyone knows any kids who want hella candy, please send them to my house because we bought about 5 bags of candy, which is way too much, and I can't be running up and down the street in my Mario costume screaming "free candy!" at kids again this year.
Image via Columbia Pictures