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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Don’t Vote Like a Halloweener

Part of the allure of Halloween is getting something great for just showing up, and this carries over into voting habits.

Well, here we go again. Another Halloween. It’s the one “holiday” of the year I never look forward to and am always relieved when it’s over.

The Grinch of Halloween

I have Halloween issues for a better reason than that. Yes, I will participate tonight as I have almost every year, one way or the other, for the last six decades. I’ll sit at the end of my driveway next to a very large basket of candy, passing it out to the nearly 200 kids who annually come by. In the spirit of “it’s better to give than to receive,” I prefer to give candy than to receive a window-soaping.

I will do this with plenty of smiles and laughs to hide my mental distress.

(If you’re wondering why I sit at the end of the driveway, it’s for two reasons: If I stay inside, then every few minutes the doorbell rings and the dogs go nuts. And an awful lot of parents these days apparently don’t tell their kids, as mine did, that you just don’t make trails through other people’s yards, let alone their shrubbery and landscaping.)

Write me off as a cranky, crotchety old guy with no sense of fun but if you really know me, you know that’s hardly the case. I have Halloween issues for a better reason than that. Frankly, it strikes me as a socialist holiday.

The truly scary thing about Halloween, however, is that a lot of people never grow out of it. Socialistic Overtones

A couple hundred kids, the great majority of whom I don’t know and never met, will come to my house tonight expecting an entitlement. Sure, it’s all for fun. I get that. And it’s not entirely a something-for-nothing proposition, which would surely annoy me even more. The kids do go to the trouble to dress up in an effort to entertain me. But of course, there’s always that implicit, low-level ultimatum in the background: trick or treat. I’d much prefer a solid, totally voluntary, win-win trade: “Mr. Reed, if we rake your leaves, will you give us some Reese’s cups?”

This wouldn’t be worth an article if it all ended at around age 16 or 18. We could just write it off as a thing that children do until they become adults. The truly scary thing about Halloween, however, is that a lot of people never grow out of it.

Years after they’ve scooped up your candy, they vote like they’re still Halloweeners. Moreover, they don’t even dress up and do the job themselves anymore. They hire guys in blue costumes with badges to get the goodies for them. The goodies range from corporate welfare to food stamps to foreign aid to student loans to, well, you-name-it.

Maybe tonight I will do things a little differently. As I pass out those Reese’s cups, I may say politely to each youngster, “Now quit doing this when it comes time to vote, and here’s a copy of Davy Crockett’s famous essay (“Not Yours to Give) to read while you’re chomping on the candy.”

At least I’m going to be thinking about it, right up until I turn the lights out at 9:00 p.m.

  • Lawrence W. Reed is FEE's President Emeritus, having previously served for nearly 11 years as FEE’s president (2008-2019). He is also FEE's Humphreys Family Senior Fellow and Ron Manners Global Ambassador for Liberty. His Facebook page is here and his personal website is