Updated: Sep 6
After reading today's title, I hope your expectation isn't some religious dissertation on Halloween's background and the spiritual implications of whether or not you should celebrate. If that's the case, this piece is not for you. If you're at a moral impasse, then like one Rodney Moncur (Senator & radio personality on The Bahamas), go get you a spiritual advisor.
Anyhew... growing up, I'd never been trick or treating. As, of course, is expected, being raised in a Christian household. Be that as it may, I'd seen enough to know Halloween was that time of year when many had an excuse to dress in costumes and was on the hunt for complimentary candy. While others stayed indoors in fear of being pelted with rotten eggs or falling prey to a vicious crime.
Over the years, I've seen this season toggle between ghastly monsters and sexy vixens. Yet, somehow folks find more creative ways to make the spooky look appealing. I reckon this one night of the year is no different from the other days where we mask our true selves to secure some sought after prize.
Terms & Conditions May Apply
Curiosity got me thinking about where the phrase 'trick or treat' came from. While there are many tales out there, I came across one that took my train of thought in a whole other direction. The phrase is a subtle suggestion that if a "treat" (candy) is given, then the child will not perform a "trick" (mischief) on the owner of the house.
Hmmm, interesting, right? More than the 'trick' or the 'treat,' the word child stands out to me. It screams, "Give me what I want (frills and thrills), or else I'll throw a tantrum!" Yea. That about sums it up. I mean, doesn't that sound a lot like the relationship encounters we see today?
Whew, child, as this plot thickens, I have some questions. (If we look at it from a relationship perspective, of course.) Like, how much treats is too much and what exactly is the purpose of the 'treat' being given? Why should a treat even be issued, absent of any deeds being done? But more importantly, if one person decides not to provide a treat, who approves the tricks' disbursement and how much 'tricking' is enough? Why is there even a trick or treat system, and who gets to keep score?
If one's treat isn't as good as the other person's, does that mean that treats moving forward are now downgraded? What if the 'treat' makes a person sick—can the other opt-out without the consequence of a trick? And can enough treats ever compensate for the effects of a 'trick?' Folks, I gat questions.
During this season, where the masses morph into masters of disguise— ask yourself, when it comes to the case of all your relationships (past, present or future), are you a trick or a treat?
Knock, Knock! Who's there?
Some love stories are so epic, they can mimic scenes you've only witnessed in a movie. In real life, more often than not, it's the tale of your homegirl. You know the one who you consider nothing but a man-eater—yea, her. She usually meets her knight-in-eye-candy-armour and magically gets to live happily ever after. There you sit, evaluating your life, wondering where you'd gone wrong.
How is it that you tend to come across every professional dream selling salesman? The ones that start out with every good intention but somehow end up being the immortal reincarnate Nightmare on Elm Street villain. Yet to date, none of these time-wasting negotiators could close on a deal? Dare I ask, how do you move from being tricked to getting kisses rather than being kicked from this hard knock life?
Can it be, though, that you attract what you project? Do you even believe you warrant anything praiseworthy? Maybe, you've fully bought into the notion that being 'good' is the only way you'll ever get what you want. So you try all you can to fit the good-girl mould, and still nothing! For so long, life has painted the picture of good equals rewards, and bad equals consequences. Shoot, Santa keeps a perpetual naughty and nice list. The secret weapon to stellar report cards since I could talk. And as a kid for 358 days of the year, you'd do your endeavour to stay on the right side of the North Pole.
Yet as an adult, while you may no longer believe in His-Royal-Jolliness, you sure-nuff believe that God, the universe or whatever you subscribe to, should manifest what you affirm. Again I ask, "does 'good' really guarantee life will be smooth sailing?" The answer, it most certainly does not.
We see it all the time the evolution of the good girl gone bad and vice versa. And everyone, but you, seem to have the magic formula that turns the tides in their favour. Shamefully, I remember when I use to intentionally do things to upset somebody's good son. I would purposely not answer the phone or push the bottoms, knowing the reaction would bring discord.
Meanwhile, I was stoic on the outside but was laughing on the inside! Oh man, I was a tool! But let not your little heart be troubled; karma got me a couple of times over since then. All things considered, let me tell you what the manual doesn't say: reciprocation doesn't only occur after acts of kindness. Meanness has its own return policy too.
Good vs. Evil
So you've been hurt, do you turn into the wench that steals relationships? Or do you live in Whoville, with a welcoming spirit and a warm heart? Do you only seek to be decent expecting that good will come to you? Are you just sowing good seeds awaiting some just reward; after all, what's giving without getting, right? Well, sad to say you might be a bit of a 'trick.'
If goodness is not the essence of who you are, then why do it? Do you even have what it takes to allow your 'good works' to be absent of expected return on investment? Can you lay claim to being a kind individual, and your willingness to give not have prerequisites? As far as relationships go, is it that you've refrained from sowing your royal cherry because you think it will afford you a knight-in-shining-hus-bae? If the only reason you are threading the straight and narrow is to be rewarded, you'll be sorely disappointed.
Listen here, being 'good' is more about your character than your external value. Did you know you can give a compliment without feeling slighted or dulling your shine? Being a 'good' person is progress over perfection. Ain't nobody out here asking you to be Jesus. But don't be an opportunist either.
However, let's not get it twisted. Being 'good' at something doesn't mean you should do it. Being 'good' does not mean you're a doormat. No, it does not make you a 'bad' person if you say 'no' and implement boundaries. Nor is it selfish for you to walk away from a situation that interrupts your peace. But can you be kind even when you have the right to be mean?
This one character trait should not be overlooked or undervalued. If it wasn't necessary, why do parents go to the trouble of teaching their kids the difference between right and wrong or how to obey rules and laws? They teach this, hoping that that child would eventually do the right thing, especially when no one was watching.
The 'trick' is not to let the 'treat' be your driving force. Paul says it so eloquently: Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility, count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:3-4)
Or maybe the golden rule would better summarize it for you, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The next time you want to wild-out, justified or not, ask yourself, do I want to be a trick or a treat!