Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

Trick or Treat
Jennifer Flaten

Remember waiting the whole month of October for that one night of the year when you could dress up in a cool costume.

You navigated your neighborhood in a cheap ill-fitting plastic mask that somehow managed to slide down to cover your eyes, yet left the rest of your head exposed.

Perhaps, your highly flammable plastic cape was fluttering in the wind behind you. Although, most likely, the heavy winter coat that your mother made you wear obscured the bulk of your carefully chosen costume.

You staggered up the cracked unlit front walk, of the scary neighbor's house. By the light of your glow wand, you avoided stubbing your toe on the broken concrete.

With a shaky hand, you rang the doorbell and listened to the owner shuffle to the door.

The door swung open and in your loudest voice, you yelled trick or treat.

The neighbor made the requisite "oh aren't you precious" noises and dropped some thing into your outstretched bag.

After mumbling thank you, only because you mom angrily whispered, "Say it", you toddled back down the front walk, tripping on that same humped up piece of concrete.

From house to house, you went repeating this little scenario throughout the entire neighborhood.

Finally, you dragged your bulging treat bag back home.

You dumped it out on the living room carpet ready to sort all the awesome candy (full size chocolate bar) from the not so awesome (Necco wafers).

Now imagine if a quick survey revealed. Ah, crap! All you see before you is fruit, pencils and books.

Yes, books in your Halloween treat sack. Not one Twizzler, Snickers or Hershey in sight, why there isn't even one of those nasty little Mary Janes, a candy truly conceived by the devil or what lawyers smoke.

No! This is more terrifying then an entire cemetery full of zombies. Who would commit such an atrocity?

Well, according to a little blurb in Spry Magazine (no I am not making that name up) we all should.

Yes, this magazine feels that the way to cut childhood obesity is to hand out non-candy items at Trick or Treat.

Because you know the only time of the year that kids eat crappy food is Halloween, so of course eliminating sugary treats would eliminate childhood obesity.

What a nasty little trick.

I mean we wouldn't want to deny our children unlimited TV time, iPods and video games and perish the thought that they get off the couch and go outside, so much easier to say that candy is the devil. Mmm, a tasty dark chocolate covered caramel devil, but I digress.

Among the list of items sure to get you egged into the next century was a book.

Now I love reading, but the idea of getting a book instead of candy is just wrong.

Not only wrong but also ridiculous because the article claimed it would be inexpensive to give books out at Halloween. Uh they need to define "inexpensive" because I don't think that word means what they think it means.

Have they priced books lately? A softbound kid's book runs at least $5 dollars. On Halloween, we usually get at least 20 kids at our house, what is that like $100? I mean Halloween candy is pricey, but not $100 pricey.

The article did suggest getting your books from a resale shop or Goodwill. Maybe you could reduce the cost to a dollar or two per Halloween visitor. Still, mucho money.

Normally, I am all about shopping at Goodwill but for books to hand out at trick or treat that just seems incredibly tacky.

Why not just go into your cupboard and hand out canned fruit, cup of soup and ramen noodles just as lame and a whole lot easier. Even better why not rope the kids into cleaning out your garage and they can keep whatever they want?

The candy isn't the problem. The problem is letting the kids eat all the Halloween candy that night or for breakfast the next day.

We can make our Halloween candy last for 6 months. Granted with three kids we get a huge amount of candy, a whole drawer full, with some in a sack in the closet to spare but still.

I am the parent, I control how much candy the kids can have, not to mention the fact that I also control the supply of coconut and dark chocolate. If they had a birthday cupcake at school maybe then dessert is a tootsie roll.

See how easy that is?

Last year, we did receive pencils and stickers from a couple of houses, but now that I think about it, the pencil and sticker houses also handed out a small candy bar. They didn't want to be egged.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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