Structural Violence on Halloween

“The kids from other neighborhoods” questions the morality of mainly white neighborhoods sending away trick-or-treaters who tend to be African-American. Children from areas of unequal access to resources are often brought to more wealthy areas due to parental efforts to avoid drug houses and give their children an enjoyable night.

While it may not be ideal for neighborhoods to have to hand out candy to non-local children, it seems unfair to send them away. The richer neighborhoods are the ones being mainly targeted by these masses of trick-or-treaters; they are upset about having to distribute more candy, but they do have the resources to accommodate the incoming children. While it is easy to dismiss the trick-or-treaters simply because they are foreign to the community, the economical impact will not be overwhelming on these wealthier neighborhoods.

Looking at the background of these children provides more insight into the issue. They come from poor communities, are mostly African-American, and cannot trick-or-treat in their own neighborhoods due to threats of violence. Because the neighborhoods being targeted for candy are mainly white, the African-American children have the tendency to stand out more as outsiders, garnering more attention from homeowners.

Tracing where the children came from allows one to see the structural violence keeping them from trick-or-treating in their own neighborhoods. They are not meaning to encroach on other people’s Halloween festivities, they simply want to give meaning to their holiday where they cannot in their own communities.