I read the article in “Dear Prudence” from the woman who is supposedly part of the super rich 1% and doesn’t want scroungy underprivileged kids taking advantage of any more of her resources than she already provides through her tax dollars.

Some are saying this is a hoax or a fake letter, that no one “that rich” would bother writing into “Dear Prudence”. To that, I roll my eyes so hard that they almost get stuck inside my head. Since when does being rich have anything to do with civility or common sense; since when does it mean that money keeps people from saying stupid things? Just look at any of the hundreds of news sources covering celebrities, politicians and CEOs, and you will see just how stupid and callous some seriously rich people can be.

Many people are defending her, saying that what she really meant was that Halloween should be a community event and not overrun with strangers, that it would be more fun if everyone knew each other. People are coming up with horror stories of bussed-in teenagers that wreak havoc on the neighborhood, vandals who egg their houses, and even harassment of non-participatory households.

You know what? Those are all perfectly valid points of view. There is nothing wrong with wishing Halloween was more community-oriented like it used to be. There is nothing wrong with bemoaning the bad apples that ruin it for everyone, or not enjoying the hordes of teenagers that sometimes can be rude and entitled. But none of that is what she said, and those points are not even close to what could be inferred from her actual words.

Dear Prudence vs. the Halloween Snob:  Halloween is not charity!

Dear Prudence vs. the Halloween Snob: Halloween is not charity!

She specifically complained about less fortunate kids to whom she was expected to show charity by giving out candy on top of all her tax money that pays for the social services that they so obviously are using. Specifically complained. In writing!

Is this story real? I can’t prove it either way. But are there people out there who actually think this way? You’d better believe it! I have actually heard people muttering under their breath about how their tax-to-welfare dollars were wasted on a costume for this or that kid they assume to be needy.

So, hoax or real person, here is what I have to say:

How dare you snidely classify everyone that is not in your neighborhood as “less fortunate”. If it’s true that you do live in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, then, by default, nearly everyone is less fortunate than you are. Your choice of words does not imply that you simply feel lucky that you are wealthy and feel empathy for those that are not. No, your words are tiptoeing around what you really want to call them, which is “poor”, “low-class”, or “trashy.” You’re about one step away from requiring last year’s 1040 to be produced before you decide which children are worthy of your candy and which ones are not.

How dare you immediately assume that if a child doesn’t live in your “wealthiest neighborhood” that they are in need of, or even using, the “social services” that your precious tax dollars are paying for? Do you have even the slightest clue about the world outside your little community? You do realize that millions of people live happily and comfortably without ever using a single government social service, despite not living in your neighborhood? That number includes people of every race and color. I am not going to fall into the racist accusation trap, but could it be that these “less fortunate” kids that you assume are eating up “social services” just happen to be a different color than you are?

You are right about one thing: Halloween is not a social service or charity. In fact, I am not aware of a single social service/charity that does nothing but dole out candy. If the “overflowing cars” were full of starving children begging for food scraps and you deigned to give them some food, then perhaps you could view yourself as charitable. But they’re not, and you’re not, so don’t flatter yourself. Trust me, you are not, in any way, a charity.

Halloween is a bit of a free-for-all to find the best neighborhood in which to trick-or-treat. It has been that way for decades. It is not because they are looking to gawk at and take advantage of your wealth, rich lady. Parents are looking for well-lit, safe, easy-to-walk areas where they don’t have to worry about busy roads/traffic, drive-by shootings, drug dealing, or other assorted dangers and crimes. They are looking for places with homes close together so their little kids can pop around without having to walk a half-mile between homes. Maybe they are also taking into account the quality of the candy their children will receive. What they are not doing, however, is mapping out the best places to go to get free handouts for their starving kids to supplement their food stamps.

Quit complaining about kids spending a couple hours in a neighborhood that makes them feel safe and happy. If you’re rich enough to live in that neighborhood, you’re rich enough to spend a few bucks on extra candy. If you don’t like it? Then turn your porch light off and spare everyone the unpleasantness of your company.

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