Monday, November 1, 2010

Not Every Witch Wears a Pointy Hat

I need to take moment in between my Ecuador trip posts to go on a mini tirade about Halloween. Let me begin by saying up front -- I hate Halloween. I don’t have a problem with the candy. I love Snicker bars and licorice almost as much as Dean loves the bag of chocolate chips I keep trying to hide and he keeps finding. And I don’t have a problem with trick or treating. Trick or treating is a bit like eating potato chips. You can’t stop at just one … or to put it in Halloween terms … there’s always another porch light calling your name. I say this from personal experience. When the girls were young we lived in Rock Springs and I was the parent who took them trick or treating. Every year we were out there, together, through blizzards and howling winds and sub-zero temperatures while Dean remained stoically behind in a cozy, warm house handing out the candy. In Rock Springs we didn’t need the Farmer’s Almanac to know when winter would begin. We knew it would begin on Halloween night. Always. And no matter what the weather was, when we were out there trick or treating, those porch lights drew me toward them just the way my cat is drawn to a fly buzzing on the patio door. “Come on, girls. Just one more block. This block has FOUR porch lights on! If you walk fast the shivering will stop and the snow will barely stick to you.

I don’t hate Halloween for the sick stomachs after gorging either. And I don’t hate Halloween because it afforded my girls the opportunity to hone their skills in lying in order to prevent my discovery of the candy they hid and which lasted all the way til Easter. I hate Halloween because when my girls were in elementary school, every year there was a Halloween Costume Parade Day where the kid wearing the best costume won a prize, and I couldn’t (and still can’t) sew. I told my girls they had to use the wrinkled and mashed dresses, hats and shoes that were crammed in the dress-up box for their costumes because “that’s what I had to do when I was a kid” and if it was good enough for me it was good enough for them. In reality, the pressure of even attempting to sew a dinosaur costume with a ten-foot tail that waved back and forth when the kid walked, or a princess dress with five layers of tulle and glittering jewels hand-sewn on the skirt was just more than I could deal with. I hate Halloween for the pressure it puts on mothers (and I suppose, some fathers) to be expert seamstresses (or seam-misters). But lately I’ve also begun hating Halloween because of Halloween parents. Yes. I hate Halloween parents.

I hate Halloween parents who drive their children miles from their own neighborhood to my neighborhood to trick or treat. Do they really think I’ll have better candy than their own neighbors? Guess what? I don’t. I buy the cheapest candy I can find because I know that every year I will have more kids (who do not live in my neighborhood) than I can afford to “treat”. And I am stingy. I don't give handfuls of candy. I give them two tiny bite-size candy bars because if I gave each kid more than that I would have to turn my light out even earlier than I did last night. Last night, by 7:00 p.m., 153 kids had come to my door. Let me say that again. By 7:00 p.m. I had given candy to one hundred and fifty-three kids. Kids who do not live in my neighborhood. By 7:00 p.m. last night I had run out of candy. And dang it, I was handing it out so fast I only managed to cram one piece into my mouth before it was all gone.

I hate Halloween parents who drive their children across town, to my neighborhood, and then do not get out of their cars. They creep along, bumper to bumper, following as their children walk from house to house – even on a beautiful, warm, fall evening – like it was last night.  (Dorothy, we're not in Rock Springs anymore....) If they feel compelled to drive their children to my neighborhood, they should at least get their lazy butts out of their cars and walk with their children.

I hate Halloween parents who bring their babies and tiny children trick or treating. Babies and tiny children who don’t even have teeth. Babies and tiny children who are too young to eat anything other than formula, baby food, mashed bananas or dog food. Come on, when those parents hold a plastic pumpkin out toward me and say, “it’s for the baby”, do they really think I'm stupid enough to believe they're going to grind up Butterfingers into pablum or let them chew on Hershey Bars with their toothless baby gums?

I hate Halloween parents who hold open their pillowcase and say, “it’s for Johnny … Sally … Iris … ” and then point to a sleeping child in a stroller or a lifeless body draped over their shoulder. Maybe if their child is snoring and drooling down their back it means they don’t NEED any more candy. Maybe it means that child should be taken home and put to bed.

Next year I am boycotting Halloween. I will not be at the door handing out candy to babies and sleeping children and parents who should have stayed in their OWN neighborhood. That is, unless, of course, these three little trick or treaters ring my doorbell. I’ll answer the door to them and give them handfuls of candy. Even if they don’t live in my neighborhood.



Amber said...

Wow! That was funny! I loved the part about babies and feeding food. I laughed out loud! I even showed Justin and said, "You HAVE to read this! Isn't it funny!". He replied, "Yeah, it's funny. And it's true.". I seriously can't believe you had 153 trick-or-treaters by 7:00pm! I guess we live so close to felony flats that kids/Halloween parents are scared to bring their kids to our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

The snowman costume was the best ever, even if I do say so myself.


Leslie said...

Yeah I still tell people about the snowman costume! Warmest costume ever!
Now everyone buys their costumes. So my feeble attempt at handmade, because I refuse to spend money on a costume, is very out of place...

Abby said...

Snowman costume wins 1st prize, but I really liked the headless horseman.

Art Elser said...

Well, pointy-hatted-witch, you only got one piece of candy. Did you manage to get the paper off, or did you have to pull it out of your mouth all gooey and sticky?

We didn't count kids and their too-stupid-to-be-believed parents because we've stopped handing out candy. Halloween, the first year in this house, back in 2001, we had over 500 hundred kids begging candy. Of course, like you, we had to turn out the lights, but it was closer to 6:00. I think the line of cars driving slowly down the street and the ones lined up bumper to bumper on both sides of the street even had out of state tags.

And the kids aren't even nice. If you only give them a couple of pieces of candy they sneer and give you the bad mouth. Makes you want to be a pointy-hatted witch who could turn them into those little dog-turn-looking pieces of dirt left on the lawn when they aerate.

So we turn out the gas light on the lawn, all the lights in the front part of the house, close up all the blinds, and sit in the family room and watch the World Series. We're the neighborhood grinches, Mr and Mrs.

We lived in Colorado Springs while Al and Barb were growing up, and we walked them through the same blizzards you did, except the snow wasn't quite as horizontal as it must have been in Rock Springs, and we all enjoyed it.

Great blog, Cathy. Next year maybe a Taser and give them a trick rather than some treats?

Lesley Collins said...

We only had two groups of trick or treaters. Feo must have scared them off.

Al said...

A friend of mine decided to start having some fun with his own hellish trick-or-treaters. He does a LOT of traveling throughout the year so come Halloween any little goblin or witch that rings his doorbell gets hotel soap in their bag. :D