“I got a rock.”
If those words don’t instantly take you to a specific memory, then you either have no soul, no television or no celebration of Halloween in your family. “It’s the Great Pumpkin” was the first time I ever came to face with the concept that there may well be adults out there who just don’t get that trick-or-treating is about candy. That’s all. It’s not about healthy snacks or fruit or even Twinkies or Ding-Dongs. Trick-or-treating is about candy. And giving out anything other than candy makes you no better than the surprisingly robust part of the population of Charlie Brown’s hometown that finds nothing wrong with giving kids a rock when come trick-or-treating. Or these givers of a really bad Halloween treats on TV.
Everybody Loves Raymond
What could possibly be worse than coming home with your trick-or-treat bucket and finding that you got a bunch of rocks? How about finding a bunch of pretty colored wrappers that most definitely do have delicious chocolate inside? Ray’s dad is put in charge of handing out candy on Halloween and when the candy in the bowl runs out, he goes in search of the kitchen supply. What he finds looks just like colorfully wrapped pieces of chocolate. Only that’s not chocolate inside. The really awful Halloween treat that Frank unwittingly hands out to the neighborhood kids turns out to be condoms.
Alton Brown’s nephew comes to his famous food science whiz uncle with the worst of all possible Halloween news. Well, the news isn’t entirely awful. Apparently, young Elton goes to school that still allows Halloween to be celebrated as a school function. Elton’s mom has given her son healthy candy alternatives to pass out at this Halloween function. Fortunately, Elton has Uncle Alton to go to fix this problem by cooking up some really cool Halloween candy. Candy. Get it!
In one of the earlier “Treehouse of Horror” Halloween specials that briefly became a November tradition but has now thankfully returned to its proper October place, Marge Simpson actually tries to pass off fruit as an acceptable treat. The kids are Springfield are not so easily tricked, however. Upon the offering of fruit, they instantly engage in a chorus of boos. When Marge tries to explain that fruit is nature’s candy, the boos remain in unison and grow appropriately louder. As it should. Marge might as well have tried giving them rocks.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The only thing worse than getting fruit as a Halloween treat is getting the instrument of torture that adds injury to the insult. On one of the first Halloween episodes of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” somehow the high school Principal is invested with the power–not a power that is supernaturally supplied, I might add–to make our young heroes take small children out trick-or-treating. Don’t be a Mrs. Davis. She’s the Sunnydale woman who hands out toothbrushes to trick-or-treaters. I’d rather get a rock.
King of the Hill
The only Halloween episode that “King of the Hill” ever produced–even though the episode in which Luanne was directly responsible for the violent electrocution of a pork farmer with a breathtakingly unhealthy obsession with pigs takes place partly on Halloween, I don’t consider it a Halloween episode–reveals an important truth about trick-or-treat etiquette. It is not merely enough to hand out candy. You must give out an appropriate amount of candy. A flashback to when Hank, Bill, Dale and Boomhauer were kids takes us back to a time when just one single King-Sized Hershey Bar per kid simply wasn’t enough and required a little Halloween trickster payback. Never mind that the house being vandalized belonged to Hank Hill’s parents.