Trick or Treat?

Halloween is drawing near, as evidenced by abundant displays of pumpkins and jumbo bags of candy at the market. And as usual, I am doing my annual “should I or shouldn’t I?” dance regarding decorating for the spooky season and hosting the hordes of kids, from wee to teen, that descend upon my neighborhood each year.
I love the idea of Halloween! For one thing, it’s the day after my birthday, so I am all about continuing the celebration! And it’s a holiday filled with my two favorite things, candy and hijinks. In case you didn’t know, I am pretty much a candy fanatic. I LOVE candy, more than is reasonable for an adult woman. And it’s a family trait, more or less. My grandmother worked in a candy factory and remained a candy freak her whole life. The candy gene sort of skipped over my sister, but her kids know they can always count on Auntie to pull a licorice wheel or lifesaver out of her purse. I’m THAT kind of aunt (the good kind!). And while I like chocolate, the darker the better, the candy I will commit crimes for is hard candy. Yep. Like lifesavers. I can tear through a roll of lifesavers in about 3 minutes flat, and never look back. This may explain the extensive and expensive dental work in my mouth, but, hey, life is short. Candy is good!
As a kid, Halloween was awesome. Despite the yearly “razor blade in an apple” legend, it was a pretty safe time. We weren’t going to eat any apples anyway, not while the free candy bonanza was flowing. We roamed the neighborhood, fairly unsupervised, with just a general curfew and a few safety reminders, like stay together, and avoid dark houses. We knew our neighbors, not just the ones on our street, but for extended blocks. We even knew who gave out the full size candy bars, who made the popcorn balls, and where to pick up the toothbrush from our local dentist as our last stop.
But Halloween, like so many other things, has changed. It has become extremely commercialized, and seems like another excuse for people to spend too much and get out of control. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I also find the idea of adults dressed up in costumes in places of business totally ridiculous. I don’t want to do my banking from a sexy cat, or buy my lunch from a sexy nurse. And I think it’s a problem that every female costume over the age of about eight seems to be a sexy something. Nothing against sexy, do not get me wrong, but I feel for my friends who have to try to explain to their young daughters why a slutty zombie is not an appropriate look for an eleven year old.
The other issue I have with Halloween has to do with my personal sanity and safety. As a single woman, living alone with two yappy dogs, I either have to board the pups, lock them up and hear them whine for hours on end, or deal with them freaking out every time the doorbell rings, and then traumatizing small children who are canine fearful. And if I do board or sequester the dogs, I start feeling very vulnerable opening my doors to legions of strangers, especially as the night wears on, and the kids get older and taller. The last few years, I have chosen to lock up the dogs, and hand out candy for the first couple of hours. I get a lot of kids, so usually two hours is enough to run out of several bags. At that point, I turn off the porch light, let the dogs out, pour a glass of wine, and try to relax and watch a scary movie. But, apparently the “porch light off” code doesn’t work as well as it used to, because I will have kids banging on my door for hours. And it gets annoying, and then a little menacing, and the night turns from sweet to sour.
But it’s hard for me to resist the idea of the darling little ones that appear in those magic twilight hours, and I hate to be known as the lady who won’t give out candy. The holiday is big on my street, with several houses elaborately decorated, and I’m friendly with the children on both sides of my house. So…once again, the conflict continues. I’d be curious to hear if any of you out there have this same issue, and how you have resolved it? In the meantime, I have a few weeks to decide. I’ve already started buying candy; I wonder what I will do with it if I don’t decide to give it all away?
The end, for now


2 responses

  1. Stick to your two hours, maybe three, put out a sign ‘OUT OF CANDY” and call it a night. Don’t feel compelled to answer the door after lights out because it’s most likely the older kids that are past their Trick or Treating prime.

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