It Just Might Work: Halloween rebellion

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Screen shot 2014-10-28 at 4.52.29 PMby Eric Ginsburg

Halloween lost its magic for me around the end of high school. If my best friend and I weren’t so tall — people called us the Twin Towers before Sept. 11 — we could’ve continued concealing our age under costumes, but as it was, my neighbors made it clear just how much they were judging us for still trying to capitalize on the free candy bonanza.

Several years later my enthusiasm returned, namely thanks to hitting the legal drinking age and a bevy of parties and live shows. I spent All Hallows’ Eve this year at a sold-out Sylvan Esso show at the Haw River Ballroom, thrilled by the electro-pop band’s set. But back in the Gate City, there was a dirty plot underfoot to keep some people — who the holiday should truly be about — from enjoying Halloween to the fullest.

Police officers, apparently off duty and working for hire, held would-be trick-or-treaters at bay outside several gated subdivisions on North Elm Street. Several people reported driving by and seeing Greensboro police cars blocking the entrances to communities, including our Editor-in-Chief Brian Clarey.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan chimed in on a Facebook thread discussing the affair.

“It appears that these were private neighborhoods,” Vaughan said. “The officers were paid directly by the homeowners associations. Luckily, Greensboro is a city where most neighborhoods embrace trick-or-treaters.”

I don’t care if it is legal. Giving out candy on Halloween is practically etched in stone for our social contract. Who is more willing to pay for a private security detail to keep kids from trick-or-treating than to just shell out for some more damn candy?

It’s not that the officers provided additional patrols or were there to deter kids from egging or toilet-papering houses — the vehicles actually denied access to the bourgeoisie off the main thoroughfare. To be clear, gated communities already disgust me, but this rankles our staff on a whole new level. I mean really, how much of an entitled asshole member of the capitalist class do you have to be to bar less affluent kids from partaking in a holiday that might as well be designed for them? Heaven forbid any brown kids get their hands on your king-size candy bars.

But we have a solution in mind for this terrible, un-neighborly attitude.

Next year, assuming these mooks pull the same holier-than-thou stunt, we’d love to see a youth march on the manors. Think storming of the Bastille, but with fake blood. Operation Candy Democracy may have to take place on Oct. 30 or Nov. 1 to catch the upper crust off guard. Hell, it could even happen this Friday, with demands for residents to put out all the excess candy they didn’t hand out.

I can hear the rhythmic chanting of “Trick or treat!” now.

  • Amanda

    My first thought for response to this… the night after Halloween or one week after Halloween, going to the houses and saying trick-or-treat. A peaceful, yet passive-aggressive way of reminding residents that they can only pay to keep the “rabble” out for so long.
    Thanks for this piece. I’d heard about this happening, but am glad that A) you found some follow-up information, and B) it is being brought to the attention of a larger audience.