Where Y'Eat: Halloween In New Orleans, A Social Pact Renewed Through Candy

Oct 24, 2019

Halloween comes down to one word: candy. And making Halloween matter comes down to you.

New Orleans has a whole Halloween season, and we’re in the thick of it. So enjoy all the haunted houses and scary movies and costume parties. But on the big day, please: be at your door and have candy.

Candy makes Halloween matter. Candy, bought by you at the store, dispensed one bit at a time to the kids trick or treating, is what makes Halloween a sacred social pact, and one we need more than ever now.

It’s about seeing a neighborhood come outside together to make it all happen. It doesn’t hurt that Halloween coincides with our good weather, a time when just stepping outside can lift the spirits.

But if no one stepped up with candy and stayed home to hand it out, there would be no Halloween. And if no one dressed up and came around trick-or-treating, Halloween wouldn’t happen. That is the unregulated, universally understood beauty of it. Halloween is one kid, one house, one piece of candy, repeated again and again, a line of memories created, passed on and rekindled by one generation to the next. It is a ritual, and candy is the medium.

In the process, a hunk of nougat covered in chocolate becomes an act of generosity, hospitality and civic engagement - something New Orleans can always use more of. Between the sticky fingers and crinkly wrappers, candy becomes a potent force for good. Just watch.

It's about seeing faces in your neighborhood, learning names, sharing a tradition and watching differences at least temporarily vanish in the shared social pursuit of making kids happy.

But you have to be there with the candy. That’s why, even if you’re not dressed up in a costume on Halloween, you still have a role to play.