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?)


HL said...

I agree with you. Mom put the end of our trick or treating at 6th grade. Unfortunately for my sister trick or treating ended six years before that. With my brothers final year.

I did the same with my kids. Though my daughter is in the 7th grade I let her go this year as a payback for not going the last two years. Granted I realized after she left that she did go to a halloween party those last two years. Oops.

She had fun with her cousins. She asked if next year she could just go and help with the little ones.

Rebecca said...

I don't encourage my teens to Trick or Treat, either. But I don't think picky, ungrateful fifth-graders are any more endearing than their teenage counterparts. Also, I don't welcome two-year-olds on my doorstep at 5:00 (while I'm rushing to finish dinner and costume my own kids) any more than I welcome teenagers after 9:00. Halloween traditions are not really about manners, are they? ;)

Sabrina said...

Just so everyone knows, Gerberta's kids had the best costumes of the night! Each costume fit the kids personality so well. I loved seeing them at my door! That O was stinking cute.

Gerb said...

HL- I think my oldest actually got to go until he was about 14 because we hadn't enforced the rule until then. I figure he deserved it for all he has to endure as the oldest child (aka the guinea pig).

Bec- How about uncostumed adults who show up with their kids (and their own bag to collect treats in) and ask if you have any other kinds of candy? That was my favorite from this year.

Sabrina- Thanks! I have to admit, Little O's personality fit that costume perfectly. :)

David G. Woolley said...

What absolutely beautiful children. And parents too! Love all the nick names--especially Hubba. Where do you think them up?

Just stopped by to thank you for your post at Top of the Morning. I hope your husband has a wonderful birthday on Friday. Were you actually able to find the audio version of Compass of God? I haven't seen (heard) it yet, that's why I'm asking. The reader's voice is wonderful. At least he captured a lot of the drama in previous volumes, so I'm assuming he'll do a terrific job with this latest installment.

All the best to you and your family. And many thanks for reading (listening).

Chelle! said...

I was so surprised at how many teenagers and adults were trick or treating this year. I couldn't believe it. I think I probably had a shocked look on my face when I opened the door to those older than 12. Interesting!

Teachinfourth said...

There comes a time to end all things, I guess.

We weren't ever allowed to go trick-or-treating...