October 31, 2005

What happened to frost on the pumpkin?

It's a balmy 61 degrees this Halloween night, and three packs of what some (frog) might refer to as Small Friends but I can only call mannerless brats came calling this evening. You would have thought they were underprivileged kids, dumpster diving for food, or drivers in the midst of a hit-and-run from which they planned to flee.

Hardly even a "trick or treat" spared, as these offspring from New York's finest private schools (and most conspicuously consuming parents) rampaged through the hallway for the masses of candy everyone on my apartment floor had laid out for their consumption. I thought perhaps a child or two might ring my doorbell, not just scream in the hall, waiting for me to open the door.

And thank-yous? Only when seriously prompted. By me. If this is 21st century Halloween for the well-to-do, I don't wonder why their older siblings have as limited a grasp of the niceties of communication as the little ones show. It makes me cringe that these are children of parents of my generation.

My parents drilled manners into me from the time I was old enough to talk. Is there something in today's child-rearing manuals that suggests there is no need for politesse? Are these the children who are going to be paying into Social Security when it's time for me to collect? No wonder there won't be any money forthcoming.

The pack rituals are evident before any of the candy has been consumed. These kids are amped on something, but it isn't the sugar. Has Ritalin reached the under-5 set? These were poster children for hyperactivity.

The only child I liked was the one who wandered into my apartment in search of the off-white Rabbit, whom he had met last year. His father was quite apologetic, but to me, his son got points for the most sincere gesture demonstrated by a child all evening.

Next year, should I repeat this charade, the kids are getting raisins. And if no one rings the bell, no one's getting anything. They'll have more than enough sugar without my contribution.


Anonymous MetroDad said...

My personal pet peeve recently (ok, not recently. Just the past 35 years) has been the absolute dearth of manners. What happened to civility and being polite? Although I've sadly come to expect this from adult peers, it kills me to see younger generations equally abhorrent. The slide is getting slippier by the minute. We experienced the same thing tonight with the young Halloweeners. Barely a single "thank you" among the whole lot!

11:43 PM  
Blogger GuusjeM said...

We opted to be Halloween Grinches this year. We closed the gate, turned off the lights at the front of the house and pretended we weren't home. Bah Humbug!

10:13 PM  
Blogger frog said...

Nah, I wouldn't call them that. The Small Friends are an elite group--there are only four of them.

All other kids are just kids.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I rather enjoy Halloween, but it comes with being a father, it is in the job description.

3:58 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

I have a system at school. At the end of every month I add up how many good days the children had (days the kids were in "green" on a traffic light). I give them small to larger prizes based on this system. I also keep track of how many kids say thank you for those prizes. Last month I got one, ONE thank you. I always give those kids a little something extra to thank them for their thanks. Good manners never hurt anybody.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Gordon Reid said...

Hi and greatings from Nova Scotia,

Sounds like your parents did a good job. I was brought up by "Victorian" parents. My mom is still with us at 91 but dad is gone.

We learned a great deal of manners. Please and thank you's we learned from birth. It's just common decencey which seems to be lacking these days.

BTW, my dad was born and raised in the Bronx, I've been in NYC once and loved it, can't wait to go back.

Best regards,


9:11 PM  

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