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Ghouls and Goblins —

October 30, 2013

DickweedEating DisordersFat HealthFat NewsMy Boring-Ass Life

I don’t really dress up for Halloween, although I’ve long harbored a fantasy of thrift-shopping my way to the perfect Harpo Marx costume.

Harpo

Peanuuuuuuuuuuuuuuts to you.

This year, however, I decided that I want to get into the Halloween spirit and don a costume that is utterly terrifying. But there are so many great options that I’m having a hard time deciding. So, I am turning to you, our faithful readers, to help me whittle down my choices some.

First up, there’s the classic Killer Clown costume.

Scary Clown

I’m still working through my issues with It.

Regular clowns are scary enough, but when clowns turn bad, it’s shit-yourself scary.

Next up, Evil Leprechaun.

Scary Leprechaun

I’ve come for your soul… er, gold.

Given my proud Irish heritage, this is a great way to both honor my ancestors and frighten the neighbors as I peek through their windows, cackling.

Of course, you can never go wrong with Body Armor Made of Creepy Baby Dolls.

Scary Baby Dolls

Only problem is I would HAVE to shave my head and face
in order to pull it off.

Can you imagine seeing this thing stomping down the street? I would immediately curl up in the fetal position and weep uncontrollably.

But for my money, there’s one group of costumes that has never failed to frighten me: late-19th/early-20th century trick-or-treaters.

Scary Children

This is some good ol’ fashioned nightmare fuel.

Proving once again that handmade is clearly superior to store-bought, you can see even more of these ghastly turn-of-the-century costumes in these two great photo sets.

The most tempting costume, though, is my way of giving the finger to misogynistic assholes who think female cosplayers MUST be body doubles for the character they portray.

Sexy Leia

Who wants to be my Han Solo?

Obviously, I’m not nearly as tan as the model above, but I think I could pull it off.

Given the choice between these costumes, I’m finding it nearly impossible to pick the most morbid, most disturbing, most monstrous disguise. Thankfully, there’s a woman in Fargo, North Dakota who has come up with a costume that has already caused countless witnesses to scream in abject horror: Concern Troll Who Bullies Children. Check out this spooktacular shit:

A local woman stated her intentions to take childhood obesity into her own hands… She has decided to give a letter instead of candy to Halloween trick or treaters that she feels are “moderately obese.”

Granted, most of the screaming comes from the blind rage caused when someone is so heartless and cruel, but isn’t the reaction the most important aspect of the perfect Halloween costume?

This woman, Cheryl, is not speaking out against Halloween as the moral equivalent of panhandling (as the perennial editorial letter bemoans) or that candy is unhealthy for children in general. No, she’s zeroing in on fat kids who like candy. As she told the radio show host she called into, “I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight.” Aaaaaaah, now I see… this isn’t even a message for the kids. It’s to their parents… a sort of passive aggressive Trojan horse that the parents will (hopefully) never be able to track down to Cheryl. She continued, “I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to sort of send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it.”

Hear that parents? Keep your fat kids home on Halloween because it’s irresponsible for you to let them go trick or treating with their friends. Instead, let them stay home and pass out candy to the acceptable children who will be enjoying the night. And — BONUS — the shame they feel will probably motivate them to eat carrot sticks and start a walking plan so that next Halloween, they’ll make Cheryl proud! Either that, or they’ll develop body image issues and/or an eating disorder as their developing psychological systems try to understand and cope with why they’re excluded from the fun, a point driven home in the article by Dr. Katie Gordon, North Dakota State University assistant professor of clinical psychology.

As if you didn’t hate Cheryl enough, she continues, “I’m contributing to their health problems and really, their kids are, you know, everybody’s kids. It’s a whole village.” Listen, you prying, platitudinous puritan prick, my kids are not your kids, period. If you want to raise perfect, “normal” weight children by shaming them and banning them from Halloween festivities, then have your own fucked-up kids. If you want to make some kind of “moral stand,” how about you just not hand out candy at Halloween at all, instead of targeting kids who are already the group most vulnerable to bullies. They don’t need you throwing your hate fuel on the fire.

But Cheryl hasn’t really thought all this out, has she? Judging by the actual letter, I’d say no:

Letter

The ignorance is breath-taking. First of all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the categories for a child’s weight is based on their height-weight percentile.

  • Underweight — Less than the 5th percentile
  • Healthy weight — 5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile
  • Overweight — 85th to less than the 95th percentile
  • Obese — Equal to or greater than the 95th percentile

What are the odds that Cheryl will be able to properly diagnose kids who are “moderately obese” based on a five-second analysis from her front porch? And is she aware that in 2007, an expert panel decided to revise the BMI categories for kids (as they did for adults in 1998)? Just six years ago the 85th to 95th percentile was called “at risk for overweight,” 95th to 97th was “overweight,” and over the 98th percentile was “obese.” As I explained in this post, “Overnight, the number of overweight children jumped from 15% of the population to over 30%, despite the fact that childhood obesity rates have remained stagnant since 1999.”

But let’s accept current BMI categories as accurate. What are the odds that Cheryl will be able to guesstimate whether a child falls into those categories? Well, bear in mind that schools where they actually weigh and measure students have pissed off parents over and over and over and over and over by sending home “fat letters” for kids who don’t even appear to be fat. But even if they only contacted parents of kids who are demonstrably fat, those letters would still be wrong. And we’re supposed to feel reassured that Cheryl will only be targeting those who, in her esteemed opinion, are part of the magical “moderately obese” category she made up?

Setting aside these categorical shenanigans, real pediatricians don’t even base their health assessments solely on a child’s BMI category. Any pediatrician who know what they’re talking about will be more concerned about the child’s growth trajectory, not their size. In this post, I shared an excerpt from an article on KidsHealth, a site run by Nemours, one of the largest nonprofit organizations devoted to children’s health:

What’s the Ideal Percentile for My Child?

There is no one ideal number. Healthy children come in all shapes and sizes, and a baby who is in the 5th percentile can be just as healthy as a baby who is in the 95th percentile.

Ideally, each child will follow along the same growth pattern over time, growing in height and gaining weight at the same rate, with the height and weight in proportion to one another. This means that usually a child stays on a certain percentile line on the growth curve. So if our 4-year-old boy on the 10th percentile line has always been on that line, he is continuing to grow along his pattern, which is a good sign.

Finally, it isn’t just fat kids who are getting metabolic disorders. As I analyzed in this post, 75% of heart disease in children is caused by smoking, 43% of pediatric hypertension cases are found in kids in less than the 90th percentile, and while 15% of adolescents with impaired fasting glucose are in the obese weight category, 9.5% were “normal” weight. And none other than the Pritikin Institute (along with Ornish, the Pritikin diet is frequently prescribed for those with heart disease) has warned people that solely focusing on overweight kids is highly problematic:

Sure, obesity contributes to these cardiovascular-related woes, but if we focus only on obesity, we’re missing the millions of thin children who are also at risk… Explains Dr. Robert Vogel, leading cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, “This study found correlates with obesity, but none were very strong, which is to say that a child can be perfectly thin and have awful risk factors.”

The fact is, there is nothing more terrifying than people like Cheryl who, spurred on by zealous media coverage and an over-inflated sense of self-importance, attempt to play doctor to other people based on a front-porch diagnosis of who is and is not healthy. If Cheryl actually cared about the health of children, she would take their mental health into consideration and perhaps demonstrate empathy by imagining what it would be like if you were a child receiving that letter instead of candy.

I have two daughters, Linny (7) and Lottie (4). Linny has always been thin and wiry, while Lottie has always been soft around the edges, despite both of them eating the same diet and being equally active. This year, Linny will be a vampire and Lottie will be a black kitten. Were they to knock on Cheryl’s door and earnestly cry out “Trick or treat,” Linny would be permitted to grab some chocolate bars from the bowl, but Cheryl would pull that bowl back from Lottie and, instead, hand her this letter that tells her she’s too fat for Halloween.

Question: What kind of monster would do such a thing?

Answer: The kind of soulless monster that would make for the perfect bone-chilling, hair-raising, heart-stopping costume this Halloween!

Concern Troll

Beware the Concern Troll!!!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2013 12:44 pm

    I only wish I knew who this woman was and where she lived. I’d be considering a drive to her house so I could cover it in eggs and TP. Her fat-shaming actions are reprehensible at best.

    • xhersize permalink
      October 30, 2013 12:52 pm

      I agree I want to that also I would go with you

  2. vesta44 permalink
    October 30, 2013 2:13 pm

    Yeah, that Cheryl sortakindamaybeperson is a real piece of work all right, and the worst sort of monster to be seen at Halloween. If she doesn’t want to hand out candy to “fat” kids, then my advice to her is “Shut your door, turn off your porch light, and ignore all the trick-or-treaters.” Otherwise, expect a lot of angry parents to show up on your doorstep, ready to berate you. And don’t forget that some of those “fat” kids just might have older brothers and sisters who are very protective of them and might consider egging, TPing, and otherwise pranking your house. Her crusade is definitely not very well thought out.

  3. lifeonfats permalink
    October 30, 2013 5:20 pm

    Simply put, the woman is an asshole. I can’t believe she actually thinks parents are going to be okay with getting a note that says “Your child’s too fat and you’re being a bad parent by giving them candy.” She should be lucky if she comes out of this unscathed.

    It is one freaking night out of the year. If she is so concerned about weight which is really none of her business, then either give out fruit or sugar-free gum or even better, don’t give out candy at all and shut up with the fat shaming.

  4. gingeroid permalink
    October 30, 2013 10:32 pm

    I’ve heard this may have been a stunt for Y-94’s Morning Playhouse. The station hasn’t issued any statements yet AFAIK.

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