Dear Parents Who Are Planning to Trick or Treat With Their Baby:
You are usually the first to arrive at my home on the most hallowed of eves. I hear the bell ring and think, “Oh, how delightful! Ragamuffins adorned in topical garb have begun to arrive, sacks of hope outstretched like nougat dreamcatchers!” I bound to the door, bowl of primo sweets in hand, eager to greet the night’s first wave of tiny superheroes.
But what’s this? Instead of a precious Disney rave scene on my stoop, I see you, costumed presumably as Local Schlub With Sweet Tooth, shamefully wielding your baby panda/monkey/flower like a mini-human candy shield. Unable to look me in the eye, you turn to your baby and say something like, “Say, ‘trick or treat’ to the nice man!” The predictable silence is broken instead by a wordless gurgle that announces, “I am mortified by the behavior of this deus deceptor.”
Desperation rising, you waggle her little foam lobster claw and sheepishly rattle an orange plastic pumpkin containing one lonely Almond Joy. “C’mon now, say ‘trick or treat’ to the nice man.” Let me ask you, did you put that Almond Joy in there yourself? Like some boardwalk Punch and Judy troupe that drops a tenner in the hat in hopes of pressuring a bigger tip? Well, guess what, Captain Krackel—I’m onto you.
What kind of example are you setting here? At best, your baby will grow to believe she was born into a family of sugar gypsies, traveling door-to-door to dupe unsuspecting rubes out of a life savings worth of caramel. And what to make of the scene when you skulk back home with your ill-gotten haul? I shudder to imagine the emotional scars inflicted on your child as you draw the curtains and begin to greedily count your loot like some kind of post-heist fudge burglar.
I do appreciate that there may be some gray area here, especially for parents with multiple children of varying ages, so let’s clarify the rules. If you answer “no” to any of the following, DO NOT COLLECT CANDY ON BEHALF OF YOUR BABY:
- Does my baby have teeth AND the jaw stamina required to safely execute a 30-minute Sugar Daddy chew session?
- Can my baby clearly speak the phrase “trick or treat” without the aid of ventriloquism?
- Is it OK to steal candy from my neighbors?
Look, I want to be clear that this isn’t about your baby. I love babies! I even have a new baby of my own. But do you know what I’m going to do with my baby on October 31? I’m going to dress her in an adorable baby chicken costume and take a billion pictures to post on Facebook. In some of these pictures, my wife and I may dress as farmers and pretend as if we are about to prepare a delicious Sunday chicken dinner. Hilarious, right? Then I’m going to put her to bed at a reasonable hour and drink some beers while I watch Night of the Living Dead and hand out candy to children. Doesn’t that sound like fun? You should give it a try!
Illustration by Sarah Letteney