It’s time, ladies and gentlemen, for another Dangerboy rant. As some of you may have known, this year was Little Danger’s first trick-or-treat. He was a bit overwhelmed by it all, wandering through a neighborhood filled with ninjas, pirates, ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. We were surrounded by muppets, superheroes, rock stars, and fairies. The very streets were filled with costumed looters. It was Occupy Trick Or Treat, and the kids were the 99%.
It was nearly idyllic.
Granted, there was that one old man that was handing out “Bit O’ Honey”, perpetually oblivious to the fact that only 1% of children actually consider those things to be candy. They are generally the last thing eaten out of the loot bag, unless some asshole lays in a stock of circus peanuts. Ye flipping Gods, whoever invented those orange cardboard-flavored torturers of taste buds should have been drawn and quartered. I’d rather lick a brussels-sprout-and-skunk-ass lollipop than eat a circus peanut.
This is NOT candy, old man.
But I digress! That was a mere smudge upon the evening, and one that I certainly expected. What I didn’t expect, but perhaps should have, was the old couple that desperately wanted to save the souls of each and every child in the neighborhood. They eagerly stuffed a piece of candy and a folded sheet of paper into my 15-month old’s plastic punkin o’ plenty. I smiled, and thanked them, and trotted on. (Keeping up with the other kids in the crew was not a task for the weak; if you want your child to compete in a marathon, simply put buckets of candy every ½ mile and they will smoke most professional athletes!)
After what seemed like 83 more houses, which a glance at the candy bucket corrected to only 10 (unless 73 houses stiffed us on candy), some discussion ensued amongst us parental types about the papers the elderly couple had handed out. They were tracts, those lovely little comics that are designed to scare children to God. This one was small, a single-folded sheet to make 4 small pages.
Here’s the first thing you read on the back:
“You need to understand that you are a sinner and the punishment for your sin is death in Hell.” The whole thing was written in much the same vein, and suggested the children say a prayer admitting they are a sinner “on my way to Hell.”
Seriously? You’re concerned that my 15-month old is committing sins aplenty in his toddlerhood, and is already on the road to damnation and hellfire for all eternity? Look, gramps, I will concede that he may summon dooky demons in his diaper and merrily make mischief among men with foam swords and dump trucks, but I’m fairly certain that he’s pretty solidly in the “not the spawn of Satan” category. (Although, to be fair, sometimes I wonder whilst in the middle of a diaper change. Holy olfactory assault, Batman!)
Little Danger as a satyr. The cuteness is lethal.
But what of all the kids who received this missive that could, in fact, read it? Surely they would have dreams of fiery torment this night, and be scared into renouncing Lucifer loudly! Well, not so much. Upon returning to the house, one of the young rapscallions read his “trick” as he consumed his treats, and the kids discussed it, in their way. “This is stupid”, they proclaimed.
Bingo! Got it in one. Mind you, this kid was (I think) a churchgoer. And yet, his opinion of the tract was succinct and, in my opinion, accurate.
I wasn’t actively offended by the concept…Halloween is a great time for propagandizing to the youth. Candy bribery is a time-honored parental tradition. In fact, next year I may hand out flyers proclaiming the power of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I was, however, blown away by the “fear sells” concept of the message. I’m in sales, and I’m pretty sure that “you are going to Hell” isn’t a hit with the target market.
Maybe a redesign is in order. Here are my thoughts on a better message:
“Come to church, it’s cooler than candy!”
“Psalms…they’re like Pokemons! Collect ‘em all!”
“Jesus is tougher than Optimus Prime, and He loves you 10 times more than any Autobot!”
“Your Faith is none of our fucking business! Have a great Halloween!”
I’m kind of partial to that last one. Look, maybe Jesus said to go out and spread the word, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t say “And make sure you freak the kids out while you’re doing it.” I didn’t see any Bhuddists stuffing meditation candles in bags. I didn’t see any pagans putting flyers for their Samhain circles in with the Snickers. I didn’t find a single spliff snuck in by a Rastafarian. Those people were too busy eating candy and enjoying the fucking holiday. (Especially the Rasta, likely owing to an epic case of munchies.)
And so I salute you, Grandma and Grandpa Busybody, but I salute you with one finger. Guess which one. Be glad I’m a lazyass, for it would have been oh, so simple to assemble an army of ninjas, pirates, and future graduates of Monster High to fire a barrage of eggs and TP at your domicile. And for that, you should thank me.
So what do you think? Was it over the top, or just an opportunity to save a soul or 53?