Yes, I am writing about the Jimmy Kimmel Halloween Candy Prank, also known as That One Time A Year When Apparently It’s Ok To Lie To Your Kids Because A Talk Show Host Said To. The second title was too long, that’s why they don’t use it on the show. Just, you know, if you were wondering.
You see, I don’t like the Halloween Prank. It was funny-ish the first time it happened, mostly because of that one gem on the end (you sneaky Mom!). But really, that was it. The rest was just screaming kids, and who really wants to watch five minutes of temper tantrums? Nobody, that’s who. So, as incentive to not have children, I guess the prank works. It also works as incentive to never trust parents.
But really, here is why it’s a problem:
1) I’m sorry, but these kids are too young to take that kind of joke. You get kids that are 12, 13 and up then yeah, they are capable of understanding the humor. But children younger than that (children of trick-or-treat age) are not developmentally ABLE to understand the complexity of this joke. They live in a black and white world people, concrete operations period, or didn’t you study your Piaget? All they know is a) my parents took my things without asking, something I am not supposed to do because it’s bad (is it any wonder they’re upset?) and then later b) my parents lied to me, another thing I am not supposed to because it’s bad.
Is it just me or are there some mixed messages happening here? And no, saying “I was just kidding” does not make it all better. Do your kids still have consequences when they lie to you and then say “just kidding”? You bet they do. The logical conclusion of this experience, if you are a child is a) my parents cannot be trusted and b) my parents do things that they say I am not allowed to do because they are bad. News flash: neither of these is a good conclusion if you’re looking for a harmonious household.
2) Let’s examine the reactions of these kids. Yikes. I mean, alright, a couple of them are pretty sweet and forgiving, but GEEZ the overall stunts are um, terrifying.
However, how are the parents supposed to address these angry outbursts? Can you discipline a kid for having a tantrum because you lied to them? But are you just supposed to let the words “I hate you, Mom” slide under the table? It seems the general consensus is to videotape it and then move on. But one wonders, what seeds of dysfunction are being sown by this “good-natured practical joke”? And why create such a parenting paradox in the first place?
3) Why on earth do people watch these? It’s just children screaming and calling their parents names. No thanks, I’ll pass. Also, I’m very concerned about a generation of parents that has no problem having a laugh at the expense of their child. It’s one thing to involuntarily catch something cute or weird or hilarious on film, and quite another to manipulate your kid so that you can have three seconds of youtube fame.
In conclusion – please never do this to your kids.