Duyen To and Jaden Navidad
Halloween is a time of absolute joy. Children run around in sometimes terrible, sometimes terrific, and sometimes terrifying costumes, knocking on doors, begging for candy, whether or not they know the person who answers. So what do adults think of Halloween? They are the ones who have to buy 3 tons of candy only to find out it’s not enough. The adults are also the ones who have to walk around in the cold and windy October night without werewolf hairs or ectoplasm to keep them warm. But most people over 13 can use their phones and post their opinions online, so it wouldn’t really be very hard for us to find out.
If we already know an adult’s stance on Halloween, why would we- Oh wait! We’re interviewing children! Ok, so what do children think about Halloween? Well, how would we ever know? No one asks children these questions. They don’t express themselves on social media, so it’s up to me/us to find out.
To get to the bottom of this mystery, I interviewed a preschool class of 14 children at the Head Start MCIU. All of the children are between the ages of 4 and 6. Anna, Chris, Emily, Emmet, Francesca, Greg, Jamal, Kenya, Lei, Micheal, Renold, Tessa, Taylor, and Taniah. Some of the kids already knew each other from preschool. The plan was to interview them through Google Meet during their circle time. I’ve provided you with a completely accurate transcript of my investigation. You’re Welcome.
I decided to start with an easy question: Do you like Halloween? The answer was a resounding yes. So, mission complete? Not exactly. You see, kids don’t always say what they truly feel. This happens because they like to say whatever is on their minds without thinking twice. So we need to press them to make sure they give an honest answer. But as I, a trained journalist who just started writing for The Wingspan two months ago, was about to find out, it’s a lot harder than it looks.
First I tried to lure them into a false sense of security. What’s your favorite part about Halloween?
It looked like they were all about to yell “Candy!” with their strange hive mind but then Lucas shouted, “Cookies!”
This surprised me. What do cookies have to do with Halloween? It got worse from there.
Renold: “I love cookies.”
Taniah: ”My mommy says omeal[sic] raisin will kill you.”
Michael: “I like cupcakes and cookies!”
Emily: “Oh yum yum cupcakes.”
Taylor: “I like cakey[sic] too!”
Tessa: “I want my Halloween birthday!”
Jamal: “Can I come to your house for a Halloween birthday?”
Tessa: “Yes everyone can come.”
Lei decided to start singing happy birthday, but she replaced the word happy with Halloween and then everyone else started singing too. I tried to get them back on track, but it was all in vain, as I had to wait until they were done with their singing.
Since that failed, I tried a different question. What’s your favorite type of candy? But I did not get a clear-cut answer for this one either. Instead of agreeing with each other like they usually did, they, for some reason, decided to start debating which candy is the best.
Emmet: “Chocolate is the best.”
Jamal: “No lollipops are bester[sic].”
Emmet: “Well, Chocolate is bestest[sic].”
Taylor: “You’re all wrong, the best candy is smarmies[sic].”
It went on like this for a while, until Lucas dropped the bomb on the debate: “Ice cream is the best candy.”
Thank God Anna replied, “Ice cream is not candy!” And then, “Yuh huh.” “Nuh uh.” “Yuh huh HUH.”
After about 3 minutes of this, they all started yelling their favorite ice cream flavors. For some reason, instead of arguing over which ice cream is “bestest,” they just stopped talking after they said what they wanted to say. Unfortunately, this was the end of their circle time so I had to wait until Monday to interview them again for better answers.
On Monday, I just tried to grab the bull by the horns and ask the most direct questions so that this interview wouldn’t take more than two sessions to complete.
Alright, kids, what scares you the most?
Tessa: “I am scared of spiders and spiderwebs.”
Francesca: “Oh yeah, spiders scare me too!”
Michael: “Yes spiders are scary.”
Kenya: ”I hate spiders and bugs.”
Chris: “I saw a HUGE spider at my grandma’s house one time.”
Renold: “I remember I saw a big bunny once. It was this big.” He stretched his arms out wide to emphasize his point.
Greg: “Bunnies cannot be that big. They can only be small.”
Taniah: “My mommy says that bunnies can be big like a giraffe.”
Anna: “No giraffes have long necks, bunnies are small and fluffy.”
Taylor: “Well I think bunnies are cute.”
Jamal: “What do YOU think about bunnies?”
I realized he was talking to me so I replied: “Well I guess they are pretty cute, but I asked what you are afraid of, not what you think is cute.”
Greg: “Ghosts are scary.”
Lei: “Yes ghosts are very scary.”
Emmet: “I agree.”
Tessa: “Me too.”
I saw where this was going and just asked my last question before it could get out of hand. What do you guys think about Halloween decorations?
Jamal: “I don’t like the witches that talk when you move.”
Tristan: “Yeah me too.”
So then, what’s your favorite part of Halloween?
Kenya: “I love Halloween candies.”
Well, what if there were no candies on Halloween?
Kenya: “Halloween with no candies is no fun! I don’t like to walk in the cold wind, and It is always too spooky to fall asleeps.[sic]”
At this point, their circle time was over again, so this was all the information I could get. What do kids really think about Halloween? Candy, I think? We’ll never know. They either all agree with the first person to say something, change the subject to something completely unrelated, or just say one random thing that popped into their head. Does this mean we’ll never know? Probably. Children are just so unpredictable. They switch opinions like it’s nothing. I must conclude what kids really think about Halloween may truly be the greatest mystery of our time.
Update: A previous edition of this article incorrectly stated that the interview took place in Mrs. Phillabaum’s kindergarten class at Paul Fly Elementary, when in fact it had taken place in a preschool class at the Head Start preschool with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. The article has been fixed to reflect this information.