Over the 4th of July weekend I went into a good old American Target store to pick up some stuff for the family. Hot dogs, buns, soda, that kind of thing. Practically as soon as I walked through the door, I was confronted by an incredibly offensive wall of piñatas.
Piñatas at Target=bad
I get it that some people might want to buy piñatas for their kids. They don’t understand the potential dangers. Fine. But selling these atrocities on one of the most important days of the year, when we celebrate Americaness? Come on Target? Why not just start selling French stuff too? Make a mockery of what the 4th of July stands for?
I went to the manager and asked him what our Founding Fathers would think about him selling piñatas on the 4th of July. Mister Gutierez (did I spell that right?) barely listened to me, even though I very calmly explained to him the dangers of piñatas and how inappropriate it was for him to sell them on this particular holiday. He just kept looking at his watch and finally made an excuse to go do something else.
All I can say is I will now be taking all of my business to Walmart, where they truly understand what it means to be an American company!
Miami Herald columnist Dave Barry knows true evil, and its name is Piñata.
A reader recently forwarded me this link to a classic Dave Barry column on the perils of piñatas that pre-dates my own fateful encounter with a piñata party. Dave goes on to list numerous occasions when he was witness to brutal violence at the hands of children as a direct result of piñata related violence.
Following my story about piñatas being used on college campuses for immoral and dangerous activities, I was forwarded this link by a loyal reader. It is a video of a man being caught on security camera having intercourse with a piñata. Now, you can’t believe everything you see on the internet, so this video may well be a hoax, but if not, it is certainly further evidence that piñatas offer no benefit to society and we would all be better off without them.
My next door neighbor Pam has a daughter attending a local university here in Northern California. I have known this neighbor for years, although we are not close. After the piñata incident she brought over a green bean casserole and was very nice to us though.
I had not really seen Pam much since the block party a few months ago, but she came to our house yesterday very upset. The university had sent a letter home to parents warning them about a new “piñata party craze” that is sweeping campus nation wide this fall.
According to this letter, college students are filling pinatas with joints, acid tabs, condoms and sex toys. These young adults, who should be studying, get drunk, bash the “goodies” out of the piñata, and then have sex and drug filled all night parties.
The letter goes on to say that the university where Pam’s daughter is attending has had to break up several of these sex and drug parties in the dormitory where her daughter is staying. This school mandates freshman to live on campus. I think it goes without saying that Pam is very concerned about this activity.
Whether or not you agree with my position on banning piñatas, I hope you will agree that this is a very disturbing development. If you have children in collage, please speak with them about the dangers of sex and drug piñata parties.
A reader of this fine site posted the other day an excellent alternative for Piñatas. Here is her suggestion…
A candy run
I too have found that pinatas are just a problem waiting to happen. I am hispanic, and have never really understood the importance of having them at parties. Last year I made a move to do something different. I created a “Candy Run” for the kids to a) eliminate a child with a weapon b) eliminate the trampling of small children by the bigger ones c) prevent the tears from the kids that don’t get anything d) create a friendlier experience. I spread candies, toys, prizes over a giant grass area in the park, roped it off, and when it was time, I had all the kids circle the area (80+ kids) and make a run for it. The idea is the same with Easter egg hunts. It was a success, and now my family members all do the same thing at their parties. I hate pinatas.
This is just one more example of American ingenuity when it comes to addressing issues like social violence. Every time someone sends me a link like this one I know in my soul that I’m doing God’s work by spreading the word about the dangers of piñata related violence.
Every 4th of July, my extended family gets together to celebrate. We live all across the western states, so this is the only time of year we all see each other. It is also my 8 year old nephew’s birthday.
Most of my family have seen the site. Some of them think I take it too seriously, but understand. This year, to prove I’m not all doom and gloom, my wife and I brought a pinata to the celebration.
We hung it form a tree without telling anyone, covered it with a pillow case so people couldn’t see what it was, then rounded them up. We also placed a baseball bat at the trunk of the tree.
Of course people realized it was a pinata hanging from the tree and were stunned we would put one up. They were even more stunned when we removed the pillow case and revealed the pinata…It had a picture of my face on it! Then I went into a long spiel about anyone who ever got tired of listening to my pinata story had a chance to get back at me, we bought a bat, yada yada yada.
My family was flabbergasted.
Then I called up the birthday boy nephew and had him stand under it. Everyone was very quiet.
I asked him if was ready to get the candy out. He enthusiastically said “Yes!”
I blindfolded him. Spun him around. Picked up the bat. Instead of handing it to him, I used it to pry loose a pull string that I’d taped out of view. I quickly handed the pull string to my nephew who pulled it with a “come and get it!”
Of course it was a pull string pinata. Joke was on my family, but they liked the candy.
My family attended a Memorial day bbq block party we have every year. All people we know who are familiar with my story. There was one new family on the block, and they were attending their first block bbq.
Things were going great, everyone was eating and having fun. But the father in this new family unit, who I will call “The Smiths,” brought out a piñata that had been following them from house to house as they moved, and thought it would be fun for us all to bash it in.
When my daughter saw it, she turned pale and threw up her hotdog and beans. My wife took her home and I explained to Mr. Smith why it had such a profound affect on my daughter.
He laughed it off and said, I quote, “Well, she’s gone now so let the rest of us have some fun.”
At that point, I would simply have left the gathering, but but over a half dozen of my neighbors stepped in and told Mr. Smith where to shove his piñata. Several of the wives went to our house to coax out my daughter (they succeeded with promises of chocolate egg creams.)
More than one of my neighbors apologized to me for the behavior of Mr. Smith and told me they wanted me to know that my family (and our bbq chops) are always more welcome than a piñata. I have never felt so welcomed by a group of people in my life. The entire block stepped in and supported my quest to educate everyone to the dangers of piñatas.
And Mr. Smith? Well, he’s a bit of a pariah for now. But my neighbors are good Christian people, and we’ll forgive him before the next block party.
Leave it to network television to turn pain and suffering into reality tv laughs. I recently came across this video from one of those stupid home video shows. It is a montage of piñata related violence with the audience laughing uproariously. I understand the concept of schadenfreude, but is someone getting a bat to the genitals really all that funny? Watch for yourself. I’m sure you’ll laugh, but in the back of your mind, remember that you are witnessing real pain.
We lost our beloved parrot, Polly, to pinata violence. A neighbor boy came by after a Pinata party and convinced our son Jon that Polly was filled with starburst candy. Jon beat poor Polly to death with a bat.
Since 1992 the Humane Society and the Department of Fish and Game have documented 480,000 incidents of pinata related violence against animals.
Most pinata related attacks occur within 48 hours of a child attending a pinata party.
The average age of a perpetrator who engages in pinata related violence: 8.
Over 75% of violent offenders in the California prison system have actively participated in the bashing of a pinata.
An estimated 60,000 adults will be attacked by their children with a bat or stick following a pinata party this year.
Despite clear links between violent behavior and pinatas, California public schools continue to include pinatas in grade school festivities.
You are 10 times more likely to be the victim of pinata related violence than a terrorist attack.
Legislation to ban pinatas has been proposed in 32 states. So far none have passed because legislators dismiss the risk.