My family will be participating in two or three “trunk or treat” activities this month, but I’ve learned that the trend of going from car to car in a designated parking lot to collect candy is still very controversial.
Fans (especially the parents of special needs children) laud it for the convenience and enhanced safety. Foes think it’s blasphemous to promote “trunk or treat” as an “alternative” to traditional door-to-door neighborhood “trick or treating.” They see “trunk or treat” as another opportunity for helicopter parents to suck all the mystery and danger out of childhood.
Critics of “trunk or treat” think some parents are just too lazy to walk along sidewalks and lawns with their little princesses and mutants. They fear that parental slothfulness may carry over to later milestones in those children’s lives. (“You mean you want me to walk you all the way down the aisle??? Can’t a bunch of you marriage-minded girls just gather at the VFW parking lot and let us golf-loving dads do a drive-by?”)
“Trunk or treat” can be a blessing for kids in sparsely populated rural areas. (Back in the day, my parents hauled me and my little brother from the country to Uncle Billy Wayne and Aunt Jean’s house, so we could use it as a staging ground for gathering mass quantities of candy on Berkley Circle.)
“Trunk or treat” is almost as good as the government plan for meddling in rural Halloween activities. (“We’ll subsidize the candy corn and dictate all-wool Halloween masks if you promise to plow under the Laffy Taffy. And perhaps you’d like to save the rotten eggs and launch some pork bellies at your neighbor’s barn instead.”)
Many churches sponsor “trunk or treat” activities for the convenience of their members as well as for an outreach mission. Some churches do a better job of assimilating Halloween than others. (“Oooo, a little zombie and a little vampire. I love the occult theme. I’ll bet Satan can’t wait to get ahold of your fun-size souls!”)
“Trunk or treat” may contribute to more civility. You might grumble about lame homemade cookies as you leave a quaint little house. You grumble LESS when you get the cookies from a monster truck with a fully loaded gun rack. (“Trunk or treat/Smell my feet/Give me some more of those mouth-watering prune-and-kale cookies to eat!”)
Proponents of “trunk or treat” feel that it can propel us solidly into the 21st century and create a new warm-and-fuzzy sense of community. You know, the sort of community where one candy dispenser says to another, “Say, stranger, I’m fresh out of pins and razor blades. Do you think you could spare a few?”
Physical injury is not the only thing to worry about when collecting candy. At a “trunk or treat” event, a parent might gush, “Look, Johnny – that van has a fog machine for eerie effect. No, wait – it’s just two amorous teenagers fogging up the windows instead of handing out Snickers bars. Don’t look!”
And what about safety AFTER the event? Do we really want motorists on the streets after two hours of being subjected to “Thriller,” “Monster Mash” and “Ghostbusters” on an endless loop?
“YOU were the designated driver, but could you remember your earplugs? Why aren’t there more Halloween songs? Look out! AAAAAAAAA!”
They did the Crash/They did the Monster Crash…
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