The Importance of Fear or Why Kids Should Trick or Treat

I should not have to tell anyone this, but I am a little biased when it comes to Halloween decorating.1  The Dragon’s Roost2 has been decorated for Halloween in one way or another for over a decade.  Every year we pick a theme or two.  Every year I dress up to hand out Halloween candy.  Every year I hit the post-Halloween sales to add to next year’s decorating.

One of the important portions of that last paragraph is that I dress up to hand out the candy.  It is almost always something frightening.  Some years The Mrs has to come out and hand out stuff to the little ones.

To reply to a Facebook post: Yes, I
am that neighbor.  

While I am all for community get togethers and businesses giving back to the community having downtown costume get-togethers for the kiddies, there is something very important about actually going house to creepy house and begging for candy.
3  No, this isn’t a rant about the importance of getting outside and getting exercise.4  Trick or Treating, especially when it involves going to the house where the weird guy put way too much effort into being scary5, imparts an important life lesson.  The modern version of guising is all about conquering your fears and attaining your goals.

This might sound a little like justification for the way I decorate my house
6, but hear me out.  What is one of the most difficult parts of being a grown-up?  For me it has always been facing a frightening situation, even though the potential outcome is favorable.  How many of us have stayed in dead-end jobs because the fear of something new was too paralyzing?  How many of us refused to go back to school, or to go up and talk to the cute person at the bar, or fill-in-the-blank?  I’d dare say that most of us have experienced that at one point in our lives.

Trick or Treating allows us to practice facing fears (the scary house) in a safe environment (the scary people won’t really harm you PLUS your parents are right there) and get rewarded for the effort (CANDY!), all at a young age.  It give us practice in bucking up our courage when the stakes are relatively low.  It also reinforces the idea that if you want something, you have to work for it.  I’m not saying that Trick or Treating in a business corridor isn’t rewarding.
7  I’m saying that getting candy from the house with the skeletons and tombstones is more rewarding.

After all, what is more sweet than candy earned?


1.  I
am a member of the Motor City Haunt Club.

2.  The house we live in, not the
publishing concern.

3.  Well, not begging.  Perhaps extorting candy would be a more apt description.

4.  Because I’m not a hypocrite.

5.  Waves to the people.

6.  Or it may sound a lot like that.

7.  I’m just saying that what it teaches children is that they are entitled to free handouts and capitalistic establishments are filled with satisfying rewards.
8

8.  Yep, they’re all going to the mall when the zombie uprising occurs.  It’s going to be just like
Dawn of the Dead.