I love Halloween. It’s an event based on candy and that’s something I embrace one fun-size Snickers bar at a time.
I do, though, have some rules about trick-or-treating. Well, maybe not rules so much. More standards I adhere to.
The one I enforce with a vengeance is teenagers trick-or-treating. I believe if you’re old enough to vote and serve your country in the armed forces it might be time to retire you candy bag. Also, do not come to my door sans costume and tell me you’re going as a “teenager.” This will earn you zero candy but I will give a No. 2 pencil for taking your SATs.
Sure, I fear these teens I tick off with my no-candy edict might come back later and exact a little revenge — with toilet paper on my house. But that’s why I leave my sprinkler system on all night.
Another thing that yanks my Halloween chain is adults trick-or-treating. Oh, they do it very discreetly, or at least they think they are being all sneaky, but no one is fooled. I’m referring to the grown up who is taking a group of kids around and yet has their own candy bag.
Scandalous, right? This is how they do it: As all the kids are opening their bags for the goodie drop the adult scoots their bag into the fray. This is when I stop mid-treat release and ask, “Oh my, do you have your own trick-or-treat bag?” I usually get a sheepish grin. My response is to give them, you guessed it, a pencil.
Needing to trick or treat as an adult is a parenting fail. What kind of lackluster parental authority do you possess if you don’t have the upper hand in the post trick-or-treat candy dispersal? It should be a given that mom (and dad) get first dibs on some select items from their kid’s treat haul. This negates the need for a parent to shamefully venture out on Halloween with their own candy bag. Also, for the love of sucrose, why wouldn’t the parent just go the store, buy themselves a 70-piece bag of Hershey’s assorted candy for $8.99, then hide the loot from their family (My go-to is the linen closet, because God forbid someone I live with changes their own sheets,) and secretly enjoy the sensuous pleasure of eating chocolate alone while watching something shameful on Bravo?
Speaking of chocolate, my trick-or-treat standards also apply to the quality and quantity of the confections. Last year, my daughter had to learn a hard lesson about life. She and her friends insisted on leaving their subdivision and venturing off to what they called the “rich neighborhood.” I tried to warn them that the bigger the houses the less candy. Plus, there’s the time suck of having to walk through all of the estate-size yards to reach the front door. This really cuts down on your Halloween time management.
They all looked at me like I was crazy. To them it didn’t make sense. Wouldn’t the bigger house signify that all the candy would be king-size? All they could think about was saying hello to extra large Reese’s Peanut Cups.
Three hours and a half-full candy bag later, my daughter arrived home crestfallen. She had to begrudgingly admit (oh the horror) I was right. Not only, were most of homes “dark,” the universal sign for “don’t waste your time knocking on this door,” but the people that were doling out sweets believed in downsizing their caloric offerings or worse, they handed out healthy snacks, as in Whole Food soy treats.
This is when I unearthed my secret stash of “me” chocolate, topped off her bag, and as we unwrapped Kit Kats I shared some cold, hard truths about trick-or-treating.
First, you want to stick to our own hood. The people there know you and are going to give you extra candy because they’ve watched you grow up from Disney Princess to Goth Vampire. Second, the more average the neighborhood the more above average the candy. This is where the younger families live. They are 100 percent into Halloween. It’s ground zero for full-size candy bars or at the very least four mini candy bars of your choice.
Lastly, big isn’t always better. Just because it looks like someone has the extra income to spend on upgraded treats doesn’t mean they’re going to open their wallets and go full Hershey bar. They might have all their ready cash tied up in stocks or something.
Lucky for me, this time of year all my assets are in chocolate and my savings account is a Costco-size bag of candy in the back of my linen closet.
Freelancer Sherry Kuehl of Leawood writes Snarky in the Suburbs in 913 each week. You can follow her on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and read her blog at snarkyinthesuburbs.com. She’s also written a book, “Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.”