October 30, 2013

Here is a note that one woman in North Dakota, evidently a local treasure, told radio station WRIG that she will be giving out this Halloween to kids who did not meet her standards.

Happy Halloween and Happy Holidays Neighbor!

You are probably wondering why your child has this note; have you ever heard the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? I am disappointed in ‘the village’ of Fargo Moorhead, West Fargo.

You [sic] child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.

My hope is that you will step up and parent and ration candy this Halloween and not allow your child to continue these unhealthy eating habits.

Thank You

One Halloween tradition is to impose your parenting choices on others. There’s that dentist who gives out toothbrushes. There’s that one guy who gives you nickels to teach saving, the one house with apples, the house that gives out vegan treats that taste like saddle leather, the house that gives out delicious vegan treats that contain peanut allergens, the house that gives out pencils instead of candy, the guy who sticks razor blades into the apples just to keep you vigilant.

And now there’s the house with the mother who gives out rude notes.

As a clinical psychology professor told ValleyNewsLive.com, “Even if a child is overweight, they might be very healthy because of what they eat and how they exercise. It’s ineffective anyway because it’s not likely to help the kid.”

And even if this isn’t a case where everyone’s already doing the best they can do, I cannot imagine that this letter would improve the situation. “Ah, a note from my neighbor with a typo and a pumpkin! Now we’d better change the way we parent!” is a sentence no one has uttered, ever.

The anonymous note! This is a new front in the Parenting Wars, narrowly beating the passive-aggressive lawn sculpture (“This Is Your Boy Timmy As His Soccer Teammates See Him”) in terms of Strategies For Critiquing Neighbor Parenting Most Likely To Get Your Home Egged.

Fortunately for all the people now indignant about this, there is a typo in the note. Life affords few pleasures keener than the grammatical errors of people who disagree with you.

There is nothing like reading something awful by somebody who you fear might have a point and discovering a glaring grammatical error or misspelling. Even a brief, fleeting typo is enough to cling to in these moments. “What a jerk,” everyone choruses. “And she can’t even type straight.”

If you’re going to hand out letters instead of candy on Halloween (after all, we don’t have an inalienable right to candy, no matter what the people currently beer-battering Mayor Bloomberg’s house have to say) why not hand out letters that might actually have a useful impact? “Your child’s costume is cute, but it revolves around a 90′s cultural touchstone that I have difficulty imagining Mason has any real stake in.” “Congratulations on finding someone to reproduce with, person who thinks ‘Bear Affected By The Government Shutdown’ is a good costume for a six year-old!”

Or better yet, address the actual person holding the note. “Avoid getting sucked into conversation with the people reading ‘Atlas Shrugged’ on the bus.” “Remember, no one who enjoys middle school is a good person.” “When you don’t have anything nice to say, definitely don’t call in to the radio station about it.” “When you don’t have anything nice to say, be sure to spell it right.”

hallownote

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.