Why I Hate Halloween And You Should Too

I always get angry when I hear someone say they hate Halloween because it’s “too American”.

It’s a ridiculous thing to say. When there are actually good reasons to hate Halloween, why would you choose such a terrible one? Saying you hate Halloween because it’s American is like saying you hate Donald Trump because he’s too tall. In fact, Halloween didn’t even originate in America, so it’s more like saying you hate Donald Trump because he’s an 18-year-old stripper.

Either way, it’s missing the point entirely. You should, of course, hate Halloween, but not for its cultural heritage. You should hate Halloween purely and simply because Halloween involves trick-or-treating, and trick-or-treating is a foul blight on humanity.

The automatic response of many to this statement will be along the lines of, “Oh how can you be opposed to the innocent joy of the little kiddies?” This is an understandable response, inasmuch as I understand that many people are idiots. But hopefully they can be made to see just what a nasty, pernicious, blatantly immoral atrocity this practice is.

Sugar-crazed delinquents getting their fix through societally condoned but morally bankrupt means of extortion. (Image: Getty)

Trick-or-treating is a very simple concept: children who you don’t know bang on your door and demand you give them free food. These are not starving children. They are not homeless waifs who depend on the kindness of strangers. They’re just sugar-crazed delinquents who have been indoctrinated into a “tradition” that disseminates the lie that for one day a year, the normal social taboo against taking candy from strangers does not apply.

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Admittedly, that taboo is usually seen to exist for the protection of the children, and Halloween does tend to make me feel that protecting children is a wrongheaded endeavour. But it’s not just that taking candy from strangers is wrong: expecting candy from strangers is wrong too, and encouraging our children to do so is an example of moral collapse in our society that you’ll be hard-pressed to improve upon.

Not that trick-or-treaters even stop at demanding free food. No, the “treat” is only half the equation. The other half is “trick”, i.e. the threat that if you don’t give the horrid urchins a treat, they will assail you with some devious prank or act of mindless vandalism.

Again, this is a one-day-a-year thing: on the other 364 days, our culture tends to frown upon the practice of extorting the property of innocent people through threats. But on Halloween, apparently it’s OK. Essentially, Halloween is a sanitised version of the movie The Purge, where all laws are suspended for one night a year so everyone can get their aggression out. In the same way, Halloween suspends all prohibitions on extortion, as long as you are a child in a mask.

The despicable actions of children on Halloween are of course aided and abetted by their parents, who allow the spirit of the season to so strip them of any sense of decent human shame that they will actually send their kids out -- and in some cases, accompany them themselves-- to show the world just how ethically bereft their family is. I can’t understand how any caring parent could willingly tell their neighbours, “My children consider themselves entitled to other people’s food for no reason, and I fully approve.”

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I don’t indulge the Jehovah’s Witness who knocks on my door: I don’t see why I should be any more tolerant just because the person knocking is dressed as Spider-Man and holding a lolly bag instead of The Watchtower.

In fact, I don’t like anyone knocking on my door at all. If I haven’t invited you, leave me the hell alone. And if I have invited you, it wasn’t so I can give you a fun-size Picnic.

I’m not complaining about the celebration of Halloween per se. Dressing up and throwing drunken parties is a perfectly laudable way to spend an October evening. Dancing naked in the forest with druids: even better. But just as Christmas is a wonderful holiday because it involves giving gifts to your loved ones and not to any funny-looking kid who fetches up on your doorstep, Halloween should only be tolerated when it doesn’t involve trick-or-treating.

I refuse to be a part of it. I refuse to compromise my morals for the satiation of less principled people’s greed. I refuse to mark a “holiday” that doesn’t even come with a day off by acquiescing to confected juvenile gangsterism. As a society with pretensions to maturity, we have to say no.

Ben Pobjie is a writer and opinion-haver. His new book Australia: What Happened?, an examination of Australia's history and how the country got into this state, is out now through Affirm Press.