Tuesday, November 1, 2011
The Ghost of Halloween Past
We have a trick-or-treating rule at our house which was my brainchild. It is: No trick-or-treating after you reach the age of 12. Some people pat me on the back and shake my hand and say things like, "YES!" when I tell them of my rule. Others... not so much. The reason I instituted this rule is because I get sick of seeing teenagers carrying loaded pillowcases from door to door - and often without costumes, mind you - ungratefully holding their bag open with expectations of free candy without so much as a 'thank you'. My teenagers (costumes or not) will not be those teenagers. For the most part it's all fine and good because once my kids hit the teenage years they (mostly) no longer have any desire to collect candy amongst the younger set.
That being said, I do feel a small twinge of guilt when I enforce the rule. Why? I shamelessly trick-or-treated until I was 17+. But for me, it was survival. I had to collect enough candy to live off of until our friends from church started bringing by the Christmas goodies. I fondly remember how we would trek over to the neighborhoods where every other door for a full block gave out a full-sized candy bar and we didn't give up until our bags were full to overflowing and there were no longer any porch lights on.
Then came the trades. My brothers and sister and I would sit in a circle on the living room floor and lay our candy out in piles (chocolate, not chocolate and undesirables) and barter for our favorites long after our parents had retired for the night.
The next step was finding a good place to hide the stash. It was almost like a game to try to find where one of my siblings had hidden their pillowcase. (And maybe I would sample one or two of their chocolates as a reward.) More often than not I cached my candy in 4 or 5 different places in case one of them was discovered - and the bag filled with my favorites always went in my backpack.
Last night around 10 pm a group of costumed teenagers came to my door in search of some candy to add to their already overflowing bags. TEN P.M.! I must be getting old and crotchety because I told them we were out of candy when really there was still a whole bowl full of treats on the piano. I felt a teensy bit bad when they politely thanked me despite leaving empty-handed and Allen pointed out that I could have gotten rid of more candy.
But I didn't feel too bad.
Because old habits die hard - and that leftover bowl full of colorful cavity-inducing crap was mine!
(Anyone want to trade me a Twix for 3 Dum Dums and a lime Tootsie Roll?)