Recently, a relatively wealthy woman wrote to Dear Prudence to whine that she has to give candy to poor kids. Here is the letter:
I live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, but on one of the more “modest” streets—mostly doctors and lawyers and family business owners. (A few blocks away are billionaires, families with famous last names, media moguls, etc.) I have noticed that on Halloween, what seems like 75 percent of the trick-or-treaters are clearly not from this neighborhood. Kids arrive in overflowing cars from less fortunate areas. I feel this is inappropriate. Halloween isn’t a social service or a charity in which I have to buy candy for less fortunate children. Obviously this makes me feel like a terrible person, because what’s the big deal about making less fortunate kids happy on a holiday? But it just bugs me, because we already pay more than enough taxes toward actual social services. Should Halloween be a neighborhood activity, or is it legitimately a free-for-all in which people hunt down the best candy grounds for their kids?
—Halloween for the 99 Percent
I feel the need to respond to this woman, whom I find repugnant to the point of a visceral response. Her heartless greed and savage stinginess make me want to vomit.
Dear Halloween for the 99 Percent,
You are a terrible person. If you have been assured by your equally selfish friends that it is “natural” that you should resent poor kids trick-or-treating in your neighborhood, let me clarify that those friends are 1) lying to you or 2) are as disgusting inside as you are. You are an unnaturally wretched (borderline evil) excuse for a human being. You are not being materially deprived by sharing candy with poor kids. Your tax money does not buy them candy. It does not give them luxuries. Hell, it doesn’t give them necessities. The “social services” you pay for is so underfunded in America that “According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 15.8 million children under 18 in the United States live in households where they are unable to consistently access enough nutritious food necessary for a healthy life.” Yet you sit in your big house and resent giving kids who might have to go hungry a little candy?? You don’t want to get into your nice car and drive to a store and get those kids so much as the crummy sweet tarts? You are THAT abysmally parsimonious? You are THAT mean? Dear God, you are the poster child for hoggish egocentrism, you miserly monster. Begrudging poor kids candy, kids that have NO CHOICE about their parents’ poverty or lack of affluence, defines you as the nadir of grasping and rapacious swinishness.
My neighborhood is “hard hit” on Halloween. Poor kids come here because their neighborhoods have fewer houses distributing candy. Rich kids come here because their mini-mansions are too far apart for decent trick-or-treating. Thus, kids from both ends of the spectrum flood into our subdivision because it is well lit, the houses are reasonably close together, and the neighborhood is renown for the benevolent abundance of its sweets. Do you know what we do about it? We who are more middle-of-the-middle-class than you? We who have less money than you? WE GO OUT AND STOCK UP ON EXTRA CANDY. Yes, we make room in our tight budgets to bring some small measure of joy to a child. Why? Because we are not avaricious money-worshiping heartless twits, that’s why.
Of course, my little city voted a couple of years ago (by more than 80%) to raise our property taxes so that the schools in our area could keep things like gym and art class. We, the pack of unwashed hippies that we seem to you, care more about children – even POOR children – than we covet money.
What you need to do, you grabby goblin, is to put on your Jimmy Choos, pick up your Prada purse, walk your stingy butt to your Lexus, and go buy some more candy so that you don’t run out. Try, for once in your life, to be a decent human being with compassion for the less fortunate. Instead of being a penurious beast, try giving lavishly to those who have so much less than you do. Maybe the milk of human kindness will rehydrate that shriveled, black raisin you call your heart and you’ll become someone of REAL worth.
— Kyra Cornelius Kramer