Yesterday, for the first time ever, I was a grown-up in charge of giving out candy to children. As I have just relocated from a soulless high-rise apartment building, this is one of the many ways in which my new “˜hood is providing new experiences for me. A few thoughts on the Halloween tradition, as I enjoy my “late lunch” of leftover candy.
Putting a clip-art “Trick or Treat!” sign in your window is transparently desperate. Since we started to get antsy after not getting any takers by late afternoon, Mr. McDoogal and I printed off a sign to indicate that we were a nice house that was giving out nice candy. For good measure, we also opened our front gate and turned on pretty much every light in the house. Note for next year: Don’t watch a zombie TV show while your house is still glowing as an inviting beacon for everyone, living or dead, walking in the street.
Costumes are all or nothing. I saw some truly awesome costumes, including Star Wars storm troopers, a pretty adorable Batman, and a dog dressed as Lady Gaga. I also saw what I guess was a zombie, a semi-skanky cat girl, and some kids whose scowly faces were apparently costume enough. Their scowls were returned tenfold.
Letting kids pick their candy is a gamble. Since we had candy to spare, I thought I’d let the kids pick what they wanted. This was usually a pleasant surprise for the kids, and it was interesting seeing some kids (who clearly won’t be fun at parties later in life) pick carefully through the bowl to be sure they knew all their options. The downside? Some grabby kids just grabbing five pieces of candy. I always feel weird scolding other people’s children, so I was left only to scowl at them. (Scowl-oween!)
Today’s urban trick-or-treaters are cheaters. When I expressed disappointment in the relatively low turnout, one of my neighbors told me that the kids in my area tend to go up and down the main avenue, trick or treating at the stores and restaurants instead of people’s houses. This seems like cheating to me. This isn’t even a bad neighborhood!
The whole thing will be awkward if you don’t compliment their costumes. After I mentioned to Mr. McD that I felt like the kids didn’t like me, he pointed out that I hadn’t said anything nice about what they were wearing. The problem was that the next kid was wearing an ambiguous costume for which I couldn’t think of a compliment. So I said “You look great!” The way you do to your friend who got a bad haircut when you’re trying to make them feel better. I am a bad person.
You will consider giving beer to the parents. You won’t. This was a serious discussion. I started drinking because it makes me less socially awkward with adults, so I figured it would work with kids too. After offering candy to the parents, who unfailingly turned it down, we began to consider offering them beer. And the more buzzed we got, the better this idea seemed to us. Fortunately for all parties, the doorbell stopped ringing before we had a chance to turn Halloween into a “teaching moment” for the neighborhood kids.
You will question the taste of today’s youth. Most popular candies were Kit-Kats and Reese’s cups. Fine. Least popular? 3 Musketeers and Milk Duds. What’s not to like about Milk Duds? They’re caramel covered in chocolate! And Three Musketeers are delicious. Nougat tastes just like chocolate whipped by angels. I hate these kids.