Dream by Barbara Zavala
You may think of Halloween as a capitalist holiday. People need to buy costumes, buy candy, and these purchases feed into an endless cycle of consumption. It’s a for-profit holiday just like any other, and if you think you can have ethical consumption, think again. The costumes are cheap plastic material probably made in sweatshops. The candy is produced in low-wage factories, and the chocolate is probably farmed using child labor. Finally, you’re forced to participate because if you don’t, you’ll miss out on all the fun.
But in fact, Halloween is the most communist holiday America has ever endorsed.
The adults buy a whole bag of candy with the intent of giving out to other kids, not even related to them. This means the adults are a class of people who sacrifice their money for the sake of sharing with others. And the only reason the adults do that is because they know other adults are participating, so they know their kids will get candy from others too. This means there’s a sense of community trust and community participation, so everyone feels safe chipping in knowing they will benefit from it too. This sense of community trust is not very capitalist pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps if you ask me.
There’s a huge payoff because the children come home with about a half-full pillowcase of candy, roughly the same size as the bag their parents bought. So why don’t the parents buy the bag and give it to their kids? Because the kids get to experience variety due to the shared pool of neighborhood candy. This means they can buy any mediocre bag of one type of assorted candy, and they will come out with much more flavors than one bag can provide.
The forced participation is essentially peer pressure. Everyone is doing it, and the forced participation is reassuring because it means their investment won’t be at a loss. Some people don’t choose to participate and there’s no shame in it. But people with kids are pressured to participate because their kid might want to participate just like all the others, and then the parents will be shamed if they send their kid out for candy without handing any out at their own house. It’s a societal manipulation, one that doesn’t use any physical force other than frowns.
Not only that, but people get to choose how much they want to participate. They can give one, two, or even three candies to each child, depending on how much they bought or how generous they’re feeling. It’s individualistic in the fact that they choose how much they want to contribute without having to sacrifice how much they gain.
Because of these reasons, Halloween is a communist holiday, where the neighborhood comes together and all of the parents make an investment to make their children happy. The children are the bourgeoisie because they don’t make any sacrifice, but the parents directly benefit from the children’s happiness because it might make them feel like they’re doing a good job parenting.
What should we do with this information? We should not take it so seriously and remind ourselves that the true bourgeoisie are the profiteers of the companies that manufacture Halloween into our social media, our malls, and our advertisements.