ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Halloween Social Contract

On the Episode entitled “Trick or Treat,” on the show Curb Your Enthusiasm by Larry David, Larry indignantly denies candy on Halloween to some girls who are in their late teens, and are in no costume.  The girls, obviously angry, later toilet paper Larry’s house and write derogatory graffiti on his front door.  When Larry calls the police to his house, the following exchange occurs:

Officer: So they had no costumes?

Cheryl: Right, no costumes, and for some reason that really upset him [Larry].

Larry: Yeah.

Officer: Now, you’re sure there were no costumes, I mean, because sometimes they can be very subtle costumes.

Larry: No, they weren’t subtle at all, there were no costumes.  They were just going around from house to house trying to get candy, okay? . . . .

Officer: But they knocked on the door, they said “Trick or Treat?”

Larry: Yeah, they said “Trick or Treat.”

Officer: And you had treats?

Larry: I was giving out candy all night.  But, I don’t have to give them candy.  They don’t deserve candy.  And I don’t deserve this (gestures to house and door, which had been toilet-papered and laced with derogatory graffiti). . . .

Officer: Did they threaten you in any way?  Did you see weapons of any kind?

Larry: No, there was no threat, except for the “trick” threat.

Officer: What’s the “trick” threat?

Larry: The trick or treat.  No treat?  Trick.  It’s a threat!  How far can you take these threats?

Officer: If it was any other night, sir. . . .

Larry: Trick or treat – bang bang! (gesturing as if pointing a gun).

Officer: But, it’s trick or treat, we cut the kids a little slack on Halloween.  There’s a kind of a social contract that you enter when you open up that door.  They say “trick or treat,” I would advise you to give the treat.

Cheryl: (Shaking head) Why don’t you just give them the candy, next time, Larry?

Larry:  I will not be intimidated.  Even on Halloween.

[Wayne Barnes]

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