I happily gave away more than 400 candy bars on Halloween night, but something was amiss. More than a quarter of my visitors were without a costume, about an equal number were adults, and another group were so young they couldn’t even walk.
The visitors without a costume could be placed in a couple specific groups. Some had a little face paint and nothing else: “What are you?" "Uh, I don't know. A vampire?” Some came with whatever they had on all day at high school, and some started the evening with a costume of some sort but abandoned pieces along the way.
The adults, and by adults I mean young adults older than 16, came as well. They begged without shame for a handout of candy even though some of them had more facial hair than I do! Some of them were actually parents with children of their own, and they still had a grocery bag filled with sweets. “This is not for me, it’s for my baby … she’s in the car … really!”
Then there were the really young. Some of these were infants in the arms of their parents, some were in strollers, and others stayed in their parents’ minivans.
Why are these 18-month-olds eating candy anyway? On a couple of occasions I offered the little rugrats some corn or broccoli as an alternative to candy, only to be unceremoniously turned down every time.
Who is Halloween supposed to be for anyway? Is it for infants, teenagers, and adults? Should a costume be required in order to receive a treat? Should you have to know precisely what your costume is? Does the recipient have to be present to receive a candy bar, or is it acceptable to collect for people who doesn't even come to the door?
When we went trick-or-treating as children, we created a specific costume out of discarded clothes and whatever makeup we could come up with. We would never have gone to a door without a costume, and we stopped begging for candy once we started to shave.
Therefore, I would like to make a proposition to the trick-or-treat population. If you want to receive a candy bar from my house next year, you must complete these simple tasks.
- Have a costume. I prefer the homemade ones, but store-bought would be OK.
- Know your costume and be prepared to defend it. Many of you came to my house and said, “I don't know” when I asked what you were.
- If you cannot speak yet, stick to healthy food like mother’s milk or strained vegetables.
- If you are old enough to drive, drive yourself to the nearest candy store and buy your own candy.
For extra points, I recommend the phrase “Trick or treat” be offered at some point during the transaction, and some sort of "thank you" would be nice.