And yes indeed, this notion is squarely rooted in the great and noble tradition of EC's Tales from The Crypt or Vault of Horror.
Again, this idea represents a metaphorical commentary on the nature of the American dream. Studies have revealed that many low-income Americans don't want the rich to pay their fair share in taxes because they believe they too will one day be rich. After all, they might just win the lottery, right? And every Halloween night, Mr. Hackles organizes just such a lottery...but with no real winners. It's hard to win a game in which one man (or one percent...) leverages all the power and holds all the cards.
One might say that these ghouls occupy his house, even...
In short order, these representatives from "The Other Side" play a little trick on Hackles: they cast his cash (and his prized I.O.U.s) to the four winds. Hackles attempts in vain to retrieve his "belongings" and ends up chasing the almighty dollar right down the corridors of Hell.
But Mr. Hackles...I thought we all made our own misfortune? Aren't you a self-made man?
Episodes such as "Trick or Treat" were generally the norm rather than the exception, and various series installments tackled issues of racism, "hate" radio and other topics from the national discourse of the day. "Trick or Treat," of course, serves as a pretty explicit and ghoulish reminder (in the early Yuppie era, no less) that "upward mobility" should concern more than the bottom line on a bank account; that our final, eternal "upward mobility" might depend on our accumulation of other currency, namely decency, empathy and compassion.
In other words, the episode conforms to that line from Matthew: "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Today, in celebration of Halloween, I'll be blogging about other memorable episodes from the first season of this memorable horror anthology from the 1980s.