Fat Notes and Hell Houses: Here Come the Halloween Killjoys

Halloween may not be an adults’ holiday, but a growing number of grownups appear to be taking it upon themselves to trample on little children’s fun. Already parents have found themselves navigating a sea of inappropriate costumes for young girls, or trying to head off overly scary or age-inappropriate tricks in their trick-or-treating. Now, there’s a whole line of Halloween Grinches out to spoil the fun for the young and young at heart.

This year’s nominee for Halloween Killjoy is a woman from Fargo, N.D., who says she will be eyeing the ghosts and goblins coming to her front door. If the child looks chubby, then there will be no candy for that little creature. Instead, she claims she will drop a note in the child’s bag informing him or her that he or she appears overweight and that withholding candy is the best idea for the little pumpkin.

“I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight… I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it,” she allegedly told a radio station, trying to defend the public hint to diet.

Of course, there are a number of ways that a person could address childhood obesity if that was really forefront in one’s mind on Halloween. Passing out healthy treats, stickers or small toys is a simple way of ensuring that children still get to participate in the social fun of trick-or-treating while not contributing to an epidemic of high sugar, processed foods.

Of course, that wouldn’t be nearly as morally satisfying as sending a smug note to parents telling them that they don’t know how to raise their children.

Forcing your opinions on Halloween fans isn’t just for handing out candy, either. Once more, Halloween means the introduction of the yearly “Hell Houses,” which are becoming a growing phenomenon across the country. These church-based haunted houses, meant to show the evils of living a sinful life in lurid and graphic detail, are supposed to send the “come to Jesus, repent and be saved” message. Instead, they are taking on a kitschy quality all of their own.

In fact, as saving souls becomes even more attached to making money, Hell Houses are spreading via “DIY Hell House Kits.” For just $300, you can address the major sins facing this country: Homosexuality, Abortion, Suicide, Drunk Driving, Satanism, Hell and Heaven in seven easy scenes. Or, if you want the Hell House special, you can order Domestic Abuse, Rave Scene and “Mother’s Womb Abortion,” a la carte.

“In most hell houses you’ll be scared not by a ghost, but a vision of a woman bleeding to death from between her legs—she’s terminated a pregnancy, and now presumably pays Satan’s price,” writes the Pacific Standard.

Some Hell House operators claim that they are going for a gentler, more tolerant proselytizing experience this year  — less “cherry pie filling botched abortion” and more implied violence and gore. Still, the message is the same: We disagree with any other life choices, and this holiday provides the opening for us to be sure that you are aware that we disapprove.

So why is it so hard to just let young people, especially small children, have a little fun on this one day? Perhaps it’s a retaliation of one too many smashed pumpkins or tee-peed houses during childhood. Either way, don’t expect your trick-or-treat experience to be all sugar. Not with these Halloween killjoys on the prowl.

Update: North Dakota’s Forum is now saying that the Halloween “fat letter” is likely a hoax. The radio show that initially broadcast the interview, Y-94, is known for hoaxes. Last year, the show made national news with its fake bit on “Donna the Deer Lady.”

Photo credit: wikimedia commons


Ronan Pettit
.4 years ago


holly masih
.4 years ago

As far as the withholding candy from fat kids.....the parents really should be the ones to address this,because it could do more harm than good if a child's self esteem is most likely already in danger because of obesity.It is the parents failure to do this when a child has a weight problem,except for the rare physical problem thatcauses some of it.As far as the hell houses,if you do not like them , do not go to them.It is,last I knew,still a free country,they have a creative way to get their point across,they should be able to without someone saying they are killjoys just because they do not agree with their beliefs or how they present them.If you disagree,simply do not take your kids to them.Closed minded,biased people call names when they do not agree.I do not agree with them,or with the whole Halloween holiday,but I do not call people names or try to spoil things for them.I do what I want to do,and let others do the same in peace.

Lynn C.
Lynn C4 years ago


Laura Saxon
.4 years ago

Very strange. Thanks for sharing.

Dan Nickerson
Dan Nickerson4 years ago

This is so sad. Whatever happened to just going trick or treating, without ramming your self-righteous religious ideology down children's throats. And thank God, literally, there are others to teach us how to raise out kids.

Cathleen K.
Cathleen K4 years ago

The North Dakota killjoy is now infamous. I wonder how many roles of toilet paper and burning bags of shit she had to deal with?

Matt Peake
Matt Peake4 years ago

re obesity in kids mayhaps a healthy snack and give the note to their PARENTS! i worked in an eating disorder unit with anorexia nervosa and bulimia patients, one teenage girl told me she remembered the day a relative told her she had put on weight she then never ate! its the parents fault kids have enough to worry about without an ADULT bullying them in public and humiliating them in front of their peers! that stupid "holiday" is taking off in Aus now I HATE IT! fgs Samhain (halloween) is on april 30th here! tis a seasonal celtic holyday to welcome the dark half of the year i.e. WINTER ummmmm we are fighting bushfires now not #winter SHEEPL! UGH

David Youmans
David Youmans4 years ago

It sounds like a whole bunch of people that aren't enjoying themselves, and want to make sure that nobody else does. Some people just think that everyone in the world should live exactly the same life, and will try to punish anyone that isn't willing to be shoved into the appropriate "mold". I really think that they should "just get a life" and leave the rest of us alone...

Rachael Clark
Rachael Clark4 years ago


KathrynElizabet Etier

Years ago we stopped handing out candy and began giving the kids small Halloween novelty toys. As for hell houses, what's the next step--beating sinful thoughts out of the tykes?