Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Too Old to Trick or Treat?

Here we are, back again as I rant on and on about something that you may or may not care about in the least. Today's topic is one I have serious feelings about that need to be shared POST-HASTE. Lately there's been talk about when is the cut-off age for trick or treating. I've seen posts about it, news reports talking about the subject, and one of my parents has shared their view on the matter without even needing to be asked. Let's talking about the tradition of trick or treating, shall we?

I wouldn't want you getting confused when coming across a roaming gang of ghosts.

Back in the Middle Ages, there was this custom called mumming. Basically, people would go door to door and perform in the hopes that it would net them some food or maybe a nice glass of wine. There are some who think this activity may actually be the source of the tradition. It does seem to line up in way, as dressing up for Halloween often involves a performance of sorts. No one wants to dress up and not act like who they're dressed as. Now, I don't know for certain if this is the real origin, but I'll share what I think to make the most sense from what I've read and heard over the years.

I know a little about the subject.
Supposedly, it all grew out of a celebration in which people dressed up to ward off evil spirits while celebrating with the spirits of their loved ones. Sort of like a less colourful version of the Day of the Dead celebration where I imagine wine was more plentiful than tequila was. I like the idea of that. It'd be cool to hang out with your ancestors for the night and share stories. There's also the belief that disguising yourself as the evil spirits is supposed to protect you from them. Then there's the tradition of souling, which involved going from church to church asking for soul cakes. I wonder what soul cake tastes like? It sounds really bad for you. I bet it involved bacon. I could really go for some bacon soul cakes, right now.

I wonder if these things would make a deadite stop trying to swallow your soul?
What I do know is that trick or treating in one of those timeless traditions that everyone remembers. It oozes into every facet of the Halloween experience because it's something that most all of us have done. The joy of getting treats for dressing up in a cool costume is hard to beat. Several years back, in 2011, I was invited by some friends to go partake in trick or treating with them. I was hesitant at first, as there is this idea put forth that grown people shouldn't go out doing such things. But then, adults did go mumming and souling and guising...so why not trick or treating? Why was it alright then and not now? You could claim it's because it was safer then, but that's bullshit. You know what they had back then? Plagues, rapes, murders, abductions, and all of that fun stuff. the world didn't get less safe over time, it has always been dangerous.

Especially if you scare the wrong girl and she leaves you and your friends to die and the hands of undead children.
I think in our modern society too many of us put children up on pedestals to the point that they become these fetishized things, like a china doll that you fear might break if jostled. We fear that there will be poisoned candy, vicious animals, pedophiles, and razor blade-filled apples awaiting them if we don't tighten that leash. It's true, some of those things are out there, but we're not protecting kids by keeping them from experiences. We need to learn to stop trying to desperately to control every facet of their young lives and let them develop at their own pace. My parents aren't perfect people, but I am grateful for the fact that they never forced me to do things.

Comb my hair? Pffft! Get that shit outta here.
As such, I firmly believe that we should allow a modicum of freedom to kids. I'm not saying that you should give them free reign to do anything they want, but it wouldn't hurt to let them pursue things they actually care about. My parents saw I wanted to write and draw books as kid. Sure, I don't really draw anymore, but I still fancy the writing part of the equation. And the reason I was able to keep it up is because they encouraged me to do what I loved rather than what they wanted. I know my old man probably would've liked to see me into sports like my cousin, but he never forced that onto me.

Although he did talk me into those frames. Eugh.
The point I'm trying to make is this: people should be able to trick or treat if they want to, regardless of their age. I have a niece who is entering her teen years and I adore her like she's my own daughter. We talk for hours sometimes about the stuff we love and she watches movies with me because she likes doing that. There's some push for her not to trick or treat this year. Not from her mother, but rather from elsewhere. I don't like hearing that. It should be her choice, not someone else's. I told my father that if no one else will take her out, then I will. She deserves to have fun and do what makes her happy, just like everyone else does. Happily, she is going out this year, my sister assures me. She also told me that she shares my opinion that if they want to do it, then they should. She and I do not always agree on things, but it's very refreshing to see that we agree on this.

As long as it doesn't involve turning people into a skin-suit. That's a no-no.
My firm belief is that there isn't a cutoff age for trick or treating. You should go do it as long as you want to. Take your kids, siblings, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, or what have you out and enjoy it. Fun doesn't have a cutoff age unless you let it. So, I wish you all good luck and hope you bring home a truly jawesome haul of treats this year and all the years you go out from here on. Be safe, be accepting, and have fun. Later days, bleeders.

And remember, Sam is watching, so don't spoil the holiday for others.

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