Many people face awful things.
Sometimes, those things aren’t fixable.
Sometimes you can’t make it better. Sometimes all you can do is try to find a way to live with it.
Living and enjoying your life doesn’t make the bad things irrelevant.
Often, people who don’t face the awful things want to pretend that everything is either fixable or already ok.
This leads to pressuring people experiencing awful things to smile and pretend everything is ok.
That doesn’t help. It doesn’t make anything ok. It just means that people are forced to face things alone. This isn’t right.
People shouldn’t force you to pretend that you’re ok when you’re not. People shouldn’t force you to pretend that the world is better than it is. If you’re facing that, I’m sorry that’s happening to you.
Sometimes we can’t fix the bad things. But there are problems we can fix. We can stop silencing people and we can stop isolating people. We can respect people, and stop expecting them to protect us from reality.
We can’t fix everything, but we can stop being jerks to people facing unfixable problems.
On Halloween, some people end up being really mean to other people, sometimes unintentionally and sometimes on purpose.
Some considerations for avoiding being a jerk:
Not everyone likes to be startled or scared:
- Scaring people is a major part of Halloween tradition, and it’s ok to like it
- But it’s also ok not to like it
- And it’s wrong to scare or startle people who don’t like to be scared
- Being scared when you don’t want to be is really, really unpleasant
- It can also be physically or psychologically dangerous for a lot of people.
- If you know someone doesn’t like to be scared, don’t scare them
- If you don’t know whether someone likes to be scared, don’t scare them
- If you think someone likes to be scared and it turns out they don’t, apologize and don’t do it again
- If scaring people is really really important to you, consider working or volunteering at a haunted house, or making your own haunted house.
- Scaring is ok, but it needs to be consensual
Don’t wreck people’s stuff:
- Some people like to smash jack-o-lanterns or other decorations, sometimes at the end of the night
- This is a mean thing to do, especially because some people, particularly children, get really emotionally attached to their decorations
- (Especially if they have put a lot of work into creating them)
- Some people might try to convince you that it’s just the done thing and that it doesn’t really upset anyone, but they’re wrong
- Breaking people’s stuff is mean
- If you want to smash pumpkins, get your own pumpkins to smash
Don’t be a jerk to people who don’t participate in trick or treating:
- Most adults who live in areas in which kids trick or treat are happy to participate
- It’s a good thing to do, but it’s not something anyone is obligated to do
- Some adults don’t participate, and that’s ok
- They might not be able to afford to buy candy
- They might not be able to get up so much or tolerate constant interaction/doorbell ringing.
- Halloween might be against their religion
- They might not want to participate for any number of other reasons
- That’s a legitimate choice, no matter why they don’t do it
- Some people punish people who don’t participate by egging or tping their house, or banging out the door over and over.
- Those are really mean things to do. Don’t do it.
- Trick or treating requires consent, and it’s not ok to be mean to people who don’t participate
Just, generally speaking – if something would normally be mean, it’s mean on Halloween. If something would normally require consent, it requires consent on Halloween. Don’t be a jerk.