04 November 2009

Groupthink Occurrences In Modern Trick-or-Treating

A paper that I recently submitted in my Marriage and the Family class.
Obviously, names have been changed.

Though I am aware that the original assignment was to observe groupthink in either a haunted house or at the movie Paranormal Activity, I didn't have the opportunity to take in either of those things, because I had to take care of my sisters all weekend. So, rather than forgo the extra credit that I know I so badly need, I decided to use an experience that I could have over the Halloween weekend. Being that my sisters are a great deal younger than me, I had the chance to go trick-or-treating with them, which can oftentimes be more terrifying than any haunted house.
My sisters, Ladybug, 8, and Sunshine, 5, were stuck in the house for the majority of the day, so I set the kitchen timer so they would know exactly how much time they had for me to change my mind about taking them anywhere. When 4:30, the beginning of trick-or-treating in our town, came, they were already in their costumes and clawing at the door. My dad and I drove them to town [we live in the country], to my friend [and fellow classmate] Spock's house. He and I decided to dress up as Shaggy and Velma from Scooby Doo. And so, the trick-or-treating began.
Groupthink isn't really prevalent in trick-or-treating when you're young. Half the time, you don't even realize you're following a crowd. However, as I observed my sisters, as well as the other children, I noticed a few patterns. For example, whenever someone screamed, either from sheer delight or absolute terror, an echo of accompanying screams would bounce from street to street. When a group of children would skip a house, either because it was scary or because it didn't have a light on, several other groups would skip that same house, even if there was someone with candy there. Also, and I have noticed this at several costumed events, adults would refer to the children as the costume they were wearing. I am included in this group, sad to say; I even referred to children I knew as the embodiment of their costume. Occasionally the children would do this as well, but they mostly greeted each other by name, or as “Whoever-You-Are.”
There was one instance of learned behavior that I, disappointingly, didn't see all night. This would be the dreaded question, “And who are you supposed to be?” When I was younger, I would be asked this question countless times, by countless adults, even if I was dressed as the most obvious thing on Earth. Possibly that example of groupthink has been eliminated, but when I'm certain that when I answer the door on Halloween night, I'll ask every single child what they are. Just for fun.

A different kind of list
My On-the-Way-Home-From-School Playlist
Just as a warning, most of these songs are rather...well, dirty.
1. Capital P, Mindless Self Indulgence
2. Sometimes a Fantasy, Billy Joel
3. Pussy All Night, Mindless Self Indulgence
4. Bomb This Track, Mindless Self Indulgence
5. Fanatica, Eisbrecher
6. Utah Saints Take On the Theme From Mortal Kombat, Utah Saints
7. Faggot, Mindless Self Indulgence
8. Mark David Chapman, Mindless Self Indulgence
9. Tom Sawyer, Mindless Self Indulgence
10. Honesty, Billy Joel
11. Alienating My Audience, Mindless Self Indulgence
12. Smooth Criminal, Alien Ant Farm
13. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth), George Harrison

My mix CDs sometimes have a life of their own.

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