Today’s rant is brought to you courtesy of kids who lose their minds when they are not in the company of their parents or at the very least, in the presence of adults who will advise them against stupidity.

Despite what my wife and sons will tell you, I am actually a huge fan of Halloween. I’m not the dress-up kind of guy but when you are born with a face like mine there’s really no need to embellish the terrifying face that God blessed me with. I am a big fan of well-planned and coordinated costumes. I love watching little ghosts and goblins haunting the darkened streets and even though I’m a little demanding when it comes to haunted houses, cornfields and forests, participating in those activities are worth a little chuckle.

Unfortunately, Halloween tends to bring out the stupid in some people. I understand unleashing your ‘inner beast’ but sadly there are young people who lose their minds when it comes to that time-honored tradition of gathering as much free candy as possible. Let me point out that when I was a young whippersnapper/stinker I recall finding enjoyment in scaring my siblings and other small children in the neighborhood; I remember swapping candy with my younger siblings (one for you, two for me); I remember going to haunted houses and taking over the place. I am not proud of any of these things.

I am however, very proud of the fact that I never stole candy from someone’s house.

Last night, we knew that we were not going to be home for a few hours but the trick-or-treaters were coming in droves. To be nice, we decided to put out a large bucket of candy for the little revelers visiting our cul-de-sac. We have it on good authority that a group of teens had taken the entire bucket and the buckets/bowls from at least two other homes. They didn’t just take the candy – they even took the bucket!

I know – Its candy right? It cost us a measly $60 and a run to the local Costco. I don’t care that they took the candy. What I do care about is the fact that they weren’t taking it from me; they were taking it away from the other honest kids who visited our house and the homes of my neighbors.

If you are a parent who cares about how your child behaves in public, this is (although not surprising because kids will be kids, right?) sad news.

We have heard this said about a person’s character in many different ways but I really like the way it is stated by J.C. Watts:

“Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught.”

We all know that we can never be with our kids every moment of the day and night. When they are grown and they have moved on to live their own lives, our parental role as “Director” in their lives is replaced with “Consultant” and “Advisor”. We can never have a true measure of who they are as people except when we witness firsthand and are given a witness by others of who they have become.

Surely stealing a bucket of candy and depriving others of that right is no indication that these young offenders will be bad people as adults – I hope them the best. But you have to wonder all the same, what kind of people they are right now if they can’t resist the urge to take something without any thought of how it affects others.

Maybe I’m just being an uptight jerk again. What do you think?