In case you haven’t been exposed to the myriad of ads telling you so (like me, thanks uBlock!), Halloween isn’t going to be the same this year.  Regardless of how well-stocked of candy the grocery stores are, trick-or-treating isn’t- or at least, it shouldn’t- be a thing, as we are still in the grips of a pandemic.  

I’ve talked before about how Halloween is a very important holiday.  For kids, it’s all about the camaraderie of dressing up like your favorite Fortnite characters with your friends and eating a lot of candy.  For adults, it’s all about the camaraderie of sitting in a circle in the woods trying to summon a demon, and also thinking about how you’re gonna eat a lot of candy the day after when it goes on sale.  Either way you look at it, it’s a pure celebration of being alive, without any of the stuffy morals of Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Last year, I focused on those more adult aspects, so this year I’m going to focus more on the kid-friendly side of Halloween.  

After months of virtual schooling, kids deserve to be able to cut loose with a little virtual Halloween fun.  Now, a quick search on shows several free options for “VR trick-or-treat,” all of… varying quality.  But for kids, all of these games miss the essence of what truly makes Halloween great: the candy.  

Luckily, there actually is a way to virtually trick-or-treat and actually get candy.  

Mars Wrigley, the largest candy producer in the world and makers of such classics as M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, and a bunch of others that I just kinda assumed were owned by Hershey’s for some reason, has created a new app called Treat Town.

Treat Town allows for several accounts on one family profile, including limitless children, apparently, meaning that one family only needs to install the app onto one shared device. Adults can use their accounts to purchase points that can be redeemed for real life candy, as well as decorate a virtual “door,” and invite family, friends, and neighbors to do the same.  Then, children can use their accounts to create a monster avatar and go “door to door,” collecting points from designated candy givers within their network.  The parents can then take the points that their child has collected to either order the candy through the app, create a digital coupon to be used in-person at participating retailers, or to be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.  The app has been up and running since October 1st, meaning that once again I’ve failed at remaining hip with the kids in a timely fashion. 

I’m conflicted.  On one hand, I’m hesitant to sing the praises of a multi-billion dollar corporation for finding new ways to market candy to children, and I’m immediately suspicious of what kind of cookies might come along with said multi-billion dollar corporation’s free app.  Also, neither the conversion rate of points-to-candy nor the expiration date of the points are particularly clear, and, not to sound like a Boomer, but this seems like another step in the “children are getting addicted to smartphones at younger and younger ages” direction.  On the other hand, this kind of digitized socialization is going to be the best we can do at this point, or at least better than nothing at all.  And again, the kids need something to get through this year. I mean, ideally that would be therapy. We probably could all use some therapy at this point.

I don’t know, maybe my cynical ass just needs to remember the true spirit of Halloween:


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