This Halloween, Dress up as a Community Hero

Halloween is here again and I’m getting the warm fuzzies that only that sugar rush can bring on. 

Best of all, most of the candies handed out on Halloween are union made, so it really is a Union Holiday (Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Hershey’s Chocolate, Jelly Belly’s, Kit Kat,  Laffy Taffy, Mike and Ikes, Smarties, Tootsie Rolls, etc.) You can get a complete list of union-made candy by clicking here.

There’s no doubt Halloween has now become one of the most revered American holidays — especially for kids who adore the sugar free-for-all. Children marvel at the pounds of    candy they are able to collect, the costumes, and the culture that has developed around the holiday. Even adults are getting into the holiday these days. And college students, always looking for a reason to celebrate, have become just as enthusiastic and competitive as the kids are.

But let’s get back to the kids. When I was a child I remember how important it was to have a great costume to show off as I roamed the streets collecting candy. Every year, my mom would help me plot my outfit ideas as we dug through our black hole of a costume box. My preferences were always the same: doctor, nurse, firefighter, teacher, cop, etc.  Community heroes all.  Looking back, I realize that I always dressed up as good guys, professions people looked up to. People who were the backbone of the community. I didn’t realize it until later, but they were all union jobs — perhaps foreshadowing my future job with LA Labor 411?

In all reality, I chose those specific costumes as a child because that’s what I aspired to be: a community hero. Each one of those costumes represented the future that I wished to attain. And I know I wasn’t the only child who felt that way because, much to my despair, every year there were at least 5 other kids in my class that would come dressed as one of my hero options. Across the United States there are likely tens of thousands of kids dressing up and dreaming of growing up to be a fireman or doctor or nurse.

It is interesting that children choose to dress as these figures, especially since these are the same folks currently being vilified by the Tea Party and the right as being responsible for the global economic collapse.  Teachers are the bad guys? Nurses? Police? Really?

Maybe little kids are choosing to dress up as these professions subconsciously. What they don’t realize at that age is how important these folks are to the fabric of their communities. And that they are a central part of the middle class and help make America great. Are they union? Hell yes. And they should be, because our everyday heroes deserve job stability, fair wages, and safe working conditions.

So is Halloween a union holiday? You betcha! That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to dress as  that doctor, nurse, firefighter, cop, construction worker, electrician, musician, teacher, or whatever everyday hero you desire.  Show your neighborhood that you are proud to take the night off and represent a hard-working union occupation that keep our communities safe and make our world a better place to live. And of course don’t forget to eat lots of union candy!

Have a happy, safe and fun union Halloween!

-Shelly Lurie
Project Manager, LA Labor 411

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