Thoughtful anthropological analysis of this holiday from Cindy Dell Clark and AAA.
October 31st is America’s curious anomaly. On October’s last day, as trees defoliate and nature ebbs towards the deadness of winter, parents mark the day by lifting prohibitions. From sugar treats to stranger visiting, what is usually forbidden falls within kids’ reach. That day children lampoon adults, dressing up in roles of mature power (princesses, firemen, astronauts, pirates); kids arrive at strangers’ doorsteps and ceremonially threaten the grown-ups within with a veiled threat, “trick or treat.” Without further ado adults hand over candy, normally a controlled substance in children’s lives.
Remarkably moms and dads don’t resent the entailed power inversion. They support it – helping with children’s costumes and following close enough behind as young ones ring doorbells. Parents say they enjoy seeing their kids range around the neighborhood to collect booty. On this festival of inversion, when the small powerless become mighty and the big powerful do their…
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