Margaret describes herself as “a svelte mom of two living in the Midwest who likes to remember the days when mischievous kids were forgiven instead of held up for public judgment.”
Dear Let Grow: I know people can be awful but now there are new ways for them to be awful. On NextDoor, three different people posted videos of kids grabbing candy while trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. Now that parents insist on doing everything with their kids, sometimes no one is home to hand out candy. It is not uncommon for people to put the bowl of Halloween candy outside on the front porch and let kids take a treat with no need to knock and say “trick or treat.” Sometimes the bowl has a “take one” sign, sometimes not.When our kids were little, we did that a few times ourselves. Year one and two, we came back home to find candy still in the bowl. Year three, though, we came back to find it empty. We thought it was funny. — the idea of middle school pranksters getting away with a load of Skittles made us laugh. I don’t think it occurred to us to be angry about it..The discussion on NextDoor about that same kind of mischief, though, is crazy. One of the videos captured a little girl, maybe 8-9 years old. The heading for the post was “Parents… who does she belong to?” Two hundred and fifty-four comments on the post so far. I didn’t have the heart to read all 254. The smattering I did read were heartless. A few said, “She’s just a kid, it’s just candy,” but there were plenty ready with judgments on the parents and on her. “She’s not that little,” one said. Mercifully, the video does not show the girl’s face..The other two videos were of the same kid snatching whole bowls off the porch. Those made me laugh — it seemed obvious that this could be a middle school dare: can you grab it off the porch without the Ring doorbell (everyone has one except us, I think) catching you? People are not content with that possibility. The kids are bad kids and need to be taught a lesson. It makes my stomach knot up, just thinking about how malevolent people can be. “He should be caught,” one guy said. By whom? And for what? Candy you mean to give away anyhow??.I loved Halloween as a kid. We wore awful costumes made of cast-off clothing. I’m not so crazy about Halloween now that it is adult-driven–houses are decorated, the makeup skills needed for some costumes are obviously adult-level, adults go trick-or-treating with the kids, adults check the candy, adults decide who can eat what, there is no thought about kids being too young to go t-or-t’ing because Mom and Dad are going with them (duh!)..Back to the Ring doorbell-type surveillance systems, though…just because we can, MUST we?