Trick or Treat


By Jae-Ha Kim
October 23, 2014

Marion Franck wrote a post about her teenage son and his high school friends who went trick or treating. I liked it.

I will admit, though, that when I see a gaggle of teenage boys come to our door, my stomach clenches.

I remember when I was maybe 15 or so, I answered our door to pass out candy to some high school boys. They were tall, loud and rude. One made a big point of making sniffing noises and making crude, racist remarks about what we must be having for dinner. Before I could shut the door on them, he and his friends grabbed the basket of candy I was holding and took almost all of it.

As they ran away, I could hear them ching chonging me.

One of the boys in that group had lagged behind. He picked up the candy basket, gently placed it in my hands and apologized for his friends. He seemed like a good kid, but he hadn’t done anything to prevent his buddies as they were doing it. Maybe he was scared of them, too.

To this day, I tell my mother not open the door on Halloween.

In more recent years, we’ve had good luck with our trick or treaters. Old and young, they’ve been pretty sweet. There’s nothing like seeing the little ones dressed in their adorable costumes, toddling up and down the stairs to pick their treats. I always give them as much as they want! Ha!

A few years ago, a whole family began showing up at our house. There were about 8 of them — the parents, an aunt or uncle maybe and some children. And it just seemed odd to me, especially since none of them were in costume.

Then it hit me. Perhaps they were hungry and realized they could get free food (albeit candy) one day a year without getting too much flack from people.

After that first year, I always made sure I had a basket of staples, such as fruit, oatmeal packets, cereal bars etc. ready. When I saw them, I would bring out both bowls and let them choose whatever they wanted. While the small children went for the candy, the older kids and their parents each took one item from the non-candy basket. I would always tell them, “Do you mind taking the rest of this? No one ever wants it and I don’t want it to go to waste.”

I don’t say this to pat myself on the back. I write this because at first, they irritated me just by being adults showing up on Halloween. I couldn’t get beyond the fact that they were people who — in my mind — shouldn’t be trick or treating.

Halloween is a weird day for me. I love the costumes and I love giving out candy. But I think about those horrible boys and I think about this family. I hope those boys have grown out of their asshole-y ways. And I hope that this family doesn’t have to go trick or treating for food this year.

© 2014 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved

Comments (7)

  1. Mike Kessler says:

    Now you’re reading my mind: I was just thinking about telling my mom (who just turned 80) not to answer the door this year. She used to rule her 7 kids with a ruler (or yardstick!) but she’s not that feisty anymore and I don’t want any rowdy kids hassling her.

  2. Mike Kessler says:

    I’ve never seen a hungry family on Halloween and I’d also try to help them discreetly.

  3. Lara Austin Shoop says:

    Wow Jae you hit the nail on the head with this. I literally feel like such a grouch on Halloween- my girls and I love to decorate but I’m hard pressed to hand out candy because we’ve been vandalized on Halloween and it saddens me. It takes the fun out of it. This totally made me think though thank you xx

  4. I bring my teenage niece and her friends trick or treating with my kids. When a teenager is holding a cute little kid’s hand they’re way more likely to get candy, plus they look a little less scary.

  5. Dawn Davis says:

    Ohhhhhh, give me those boys names, I want to kick some booty! lol… how traumatizing! Boys! Ohhh, I’d give it to my son if he ever acted like that. Happy “almost” Halloween!!! xoxo ~ Dawn

    • Jae-Ha Kim says:

      I am laughing so hard because you are literally one of the teensiest people I know! But yeah, I know you can kick some booty! And Bobby would never behave that way because you and Bob raised him to be respectful! xxoo

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