I have three children and there was a time when I had to take them trick or treating and leave the house unattended. I actually would start to have anxiety about this the week before Halloween. I would always buy ten bags of candy in the largest amount that I could find at my local store. I say my local store because where I live that store changed. We at one time had slim pickings as to where we could shop for candy. Our town currently today has four pharmacies and three dollar stores a supermarket and a Super Walmart which stays open all night. It wasn’t like that when we moved here. We had a sleepy town that closed down by eight pm.
My husband announced that he wouldn’t be here for Halloween night. He had a business trip and blah blah blah…I stopped listening because I had all of the information I needed. I was being left here with three small children on the scariest night of the year. His reasons were insufficient because he knows how much I hate Halloween. So unless there is a really good reason, which I cannot even think of a good example so clearly there is not, then you really should be here to protect me from things that I conjure up in my mind. I don’t make the rules I live by them!!!!
“Why not?” I cried in my sleep. I knew I couldn’t handle Halloween on my own. Witches get their powers and of the devil always looking to possess me, not to mention someone has to take the kids trick or treating and someone needed to stay home to hand out candy. It’s like the piggy game we play with on our babies’ feet. This little piggy cried and said “No you must stay home!” I wonder which piggy would get possessed and how would the other’s react being so close in proximity to each other. That would be horrible! It’s like having a possessed siamese twin! Gulp! I’m sorry I have just terrified myself and may need to go sit in a safe place for a while…like a padded cell!
So my husband was on a business trip and I was on costume duty. My kids were dressed in store-bought costumes because somewhere along the way I decided that store bought was the way to go. I don’t remember which costumes that they wore so I am going to just say three random costumes that my children have dressed in. My oldest was dressed up like Jessie from Toy story. My son was dressed up as Peter Pan, and my youngest was dressed up as a Unicorn. This Unicorn costume came in handy for the rest of their lives. (side note….my kids all got their mother’s sense of humor. There were times when for no reason at all they would come downstairs wearing that unicorn costume and act as though it was super normal. It was always random and It was always hilarious.)
I take half of the candy and I put it in my gigantic bowl that I use for Halloween and I put it outside on a step-ladder and I draped a piece of red velvet fabric over the ladder to make it look dramatic. I put a note written in scroll in the spirit of the holiday stating “Take one handful, even take two, leave some for others as they have done for you!” (clever huh?) I knew the neighborhood kids and I was pretty certain that they would take a lot but I had a lot so I thought this is going to work. I get my flashlights and hand one to each kid. I put my dog on a leash because he was not a fan of Halloween either and off we go. We live on the cul-de-sac and so we start closest to home first. I tell the kids that we only go to the houses with their lights on because those without lights don’t believe in Halloween! (Ah the circle of life! Actually it was more like the circle of confusion because my kids would say “They don’t believe in it? It’s not that kind of holiday!”)
We get to our third house so we were gone and I will be very liberal with my time, fifteen minutes….fifteen minutes and there was five enormous bags of fun size candies in that glorious candy bowl with my note of clever rhyming, when one of the older kids bellow out to me with anger “Hey, Miss Becki! There’s no more candy at your house!” Then the kids behind her all laugh. Then one yells “Get us more candy!” then another “Or we are going to egg your house!” They laugh and go about their debauchery. I look at my kids and they are all wide-eyed and a little horrified. Another neighbor was coming up the driveway that we were standing in and she says “Do you want me to take your kids with us so you can go deal with that?” Little does she know that I don’t want to deal with that. I’m not a “Go deal with that” type of person. I’m more of a “let me go pretend that this isn’t happening” type of person!
My kids were excited about trick or treating with their friends and so I take the dog back home with me. I walk over to the porch to get my most prized Halloween candy bowl and guess what? Those little fuckers took everything, the candy, the bowl, the note, the red velvet and all that was left was the step-ladder. I look around and they took our Halloween decorations too. My dog starts growling because there are small children approaching the house and he’s not a fan of small children. I run inside and I grab a bag of candy and answer the door with the bag in hand like some kind of animal. After these kids left I go in search of another big bowl and I find one that is half the size of the one that I lost. I empty candy in and I answer the door with this small dish and the funny thing is when You use a large dish children dig in with both hands and take handfuls. When you use a smaller dish they simply pick out their favorites. It’s a longer process because they have to weigh their options and sometimes check to see that you aren’t hiding the most amazing candies on the bottom. Some of the smaller children just stand there and wait for you to put it in their bags. So I found my cultural experiment fun (it’s the psychologist in me) and I witness that the size of your bowl really does count.
I hear the kids that hollered to me coming back around and they all look at me with shit eating grins on their faces and say “You finally got more candy!”
Finally? Like it had been weeks! I smile and I say nothing. they take their handfuls of candy and they say goodbye and they all laugh as they do so. I close the door and I smile because the truth be told, I figured some one would have taken all of the candy. I only put half out for that very reason. I wasn’t shocked or surprised that the kids who more than likely took the candy, the bowl, the note and the decorations would come back for more. You see, they wanted to see if they could get away with it. The answer is yes. However, my conscience is clear and here is why, it really is only candy and a few inexpensive trinkets. I didn’t really mind that they took it (except my bowl because I loved that bowl). Kids get dressed up on Halloween and they get ballsy and they do things that they wouldn’t ordinarily do…like petty theft. In the morning they are going to have too much candy and too much guilt. What I could’ve done to them would have given them a reason to blame me. When I did nothing and handed them more candy that’s when they no longer had me to blame. I did nothing wrong. Now they have to live with the conscience.
My kids came with their friends all at my door and they knock and giggle. I open the door and invite them all inside. I had made goodies for them. My neighbor and I laughed at how the kids took everything off of my doorstep. She said “At least they didn’t take the step-ladder!” and we laughed some more. Over all it was a nice night. The kids each took from our new candy bowl and after eating some ‘grave-digger pudding’ my neighbor and her kids left. My children told me about their night. I allowed them one candy that I gave them and I told them that I had to check their other candy for tampering. My son is like me and it surprises me in no way to find out that he had already been checking it.
There was a knock on my door and it is more trick or treaters. It’s funny because the trick or treaters that come later on are teenagers that are barely dressed up and just looking for candy. My oldest daughter and son do the honors of handing the candy out. The teenagers that know they are probably a bit too old for trick or treating are usually less greedy and take one candy.
“You can take more than that!” my oldest daughter announces.
“Yeah, take a whole handful, we have too much and we can’t eat it all.” my son agrees.
“Are you sure?” teenagers being humble.
“Yes please take all that you can. I doubt many others are coming after you.” I say from behind my children with the youngest in my arms.
“Hey, thanks!” the teenagers take their handfuls and they are all smiles.
“Some people tell us that we are too old for trick or treating and they won’t give us anything.” one of the boys says and I am pretty certain he is eighteen.
“You can be too old for trick or treating?” my son asks worried.
“No, you can never be too old for trick or treating.” I tell them, “You kids have a safe night alright.” I smile and wave off the young adults.
I close the door and latch the lock and look at my children who need to start thinking about bed. I hear a knock on the door. I walk over and the eighteen year old is standing on my doorstep with a bowl in his hand. I open the door and he smiles.
“Is this yours?” he asks as he is holding my beautiful Halloween bowl.
“Yes it is!” I announce.
“Yeah I just found it down by your mailbox!” He smiles politely.
“Well, I was wondering where that went.” I take it from him. “Thank you so much!”
“No problem!” he begins to turn away “Have a goodnight!”
“You too! Stay safe!” I say and I close the door and latch it again.
“He brought back our bowl?” my son says.
“Yup! They found it down by the mailbox!” I ruffle my son’s hair.
“They were nice to do that!” my son tells me.
“Yes, they were very nice to do that!” I agree.
“Hey mom, can you help me with her costume?” My oldest comes to the top of the stairs and my youngest is standing with her unicorn costume inside out and all stuck on her head. I run up and help with the situation.
My children take their baths and get into their jammies and they are excited and sleepy all at the same time. They want me to read from their Harry Potter books. I get them all tucked into mom’s bed because it’s Halloween and that’s a little scary for some of us. (yes I mean me…but maybe them too) I read to them and they all begin to get heavy eyelids.
I get them all into their own beds and I hear my phone ring. It’s my husband. “So how did it go?”
“It was fine. Some kids took all of the candy, bowl and all……” I tell him the events of the night. He and I laugh because we think it’s funny what some kids do. I told him about the polite teenagers and he is glad that they found the bowl. It was such a nice night. I still don’t like Halloween, but you see sometimes kids will act exactly as you would expect them to. Others will surprise you by their acts of kindness. Halloween is just another night, but it allows us to socialize as we don’t normally do. Think about the last time you just walked up to your neighbor’s door! For most of us it was probably Halloween night for trick or treating. For me that was several years ago!
Moral of my story: Halloween is a time of fun and unity. We go to the houses that we “trust”. Do you normally trust your neighbor? I mean if you do and you frequent their house for say a barbecue maybe don’t check your pulled pork for razor blades that maybe offensive. But if you don’t normally talk to your neighbor, why not on Halloween night say more than just a few socially awkward sentences. You’re out and socializing. Strike up a conversation with those whom you haven’t seen in a while. Community is not the same as it used to be. I know that for me, I hardly ever see my neighbors. I miss the old days when our children were little and we would stand outside while the kids would play and we could talk. Also if you do put a dish of candy out unattended, know that someone might take the dish, decorations and all. They are kids and kids do things because they are learning. It is not your job to teach them a lesson. The lesson is built in the guilt. Also when some older teenager types show up at your house looking for candy, don’t judge them. My kids loved trick or treating and they would take their youngest sister as a decoy for them to get candy too. Growing up is inevitable and hard. If you could dress up and go door to door on Halloween night without being judged, you’d do it too. These late bloomers are just holding onto something dear to them, their childhood, let them. As for me, Halloween is coming again and our neighborhood is getting older. Sure we have some children and some of our neighbors have grandchildren now, but we get less trick or treaters these days. It makes me nostalgic for the good ole days when my children were one of the many running around Halloween night. I am still not a fan of Halloween witch powers though, that shit scares me!
Until next time 🙂