Donald Trump Jr.'s Halloween Candy Controversy Explained

While Halloween has ancient Celtic roots, in the modern-day United States, many families celebrate Halloween as a good-natured opportunity for kids and adults alike to don costumes, explore their spooky side, and enjoy a sweet treat. For Children especially, the sweet treat portion of the holiday tends to be the focus thanks to the tradition of trick-or-treating, during which children go door-to-door in their costumes collecting candy.

Countless American families enjoy this tradition, including, apparently, the Trumps. On Halloween 2017, Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of former President Donald J. Trump, posted a picture on X, formerly Twitter, of his adorable daughter – but the post wasn't what you might have expected.

While in pre-Christian Celtic Europe, people would wear outfits made from animal skins and other costumes to confuse or ward off the spirits who they believed could cross into the world of the living on Samhain, Donald Trump Jr. tried to use Halloween to scare off a different type of spirit: the spirit of socialism.

Donald Trump Jr.'s message was highly controversial

Socialism has been a hot-button word for Republicans for some time now, and it is often brought into the conversation when politicians are discussing subsidized healthcare or other types of social safety nets like food stamps. For instance, in 2020, then-President Donald Trump promised crowds in his State of the Union speech that he would "never let socialism destroy healthcare," even though the U.S. already has partially socialized healthcare with programs like Medicaid and Medicare. 

Nonetheless, the Trumps are quick to jump on any chance to denounce socialism in any form, and on Halloween 2017, Donald Trump Jr., who has five children, posted a sweet photo of his daughter Chloe to social media. In the photo, the then-three-year-old Chloe was wearing a police costume and holding up her bucket of Halloween candy. The caption read, "I'm going to take half of Chloe's candy tonight & give it to some kid who sat at home. It's never to early to teach her about socialism." 

The photo garnered an immediate and overwhelming response, but not all of the replies were what Trump Jr. was likely hoping for at the time. While some comments pointed out the mixup of his use of "to" instead of "too," many others called out something about trick-or-treating that Trump Jr. seemed not to have considered before posting: going door-to-door happily accepting "handouts" from neighbors is actually pretty socialist, if you think about it.

Countless comments pointed out Trump Jr.'s hypocrisy

Comments at the time of Trump Jr.'s posting included replies like, "It's never *too early to teach her about proper grammar either Donnie," making fun of his typo. And several comments echoed a sentiment like this: "You're sending her out to get free handouts from hard working Americans as U joke about Socialism. Exactly how DUMB are you ... ?"  

Other commenters, rather than focusing on the irony of the socialism issue, pointed out that giving candy to kids who could not go out and trick-or-treat themselves, for whatever reason, would actually have been a really nice lesson in sharing, taking care of your neighbors, and teaching empathy. There were even comments pulling other members of the Trump family into the conversation, suggesting that it was a very "Trump" thing to do to use one's own child for political purposes while making no sense. 

Oddly enough, during the same Halloween, Donald J. Trump, still President at the time, also made headlines for bizarre Halloween candy-related remarks when children of journalists went trick-or-treating at the White House (via Glamour). "I cannot believe the media just produced such beautiful children," Trump said to the kids before asking if they were going to grow up to be like their parents. He also took heat for saying to the children as they reached for candy, "You have no weight problems — that's the good news, right? So, you take out whatever you need, okay?"