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Halloween: The Ugly Truth

November 3, 2010

I have to admit to a certain amount of dread when Halloween rolls around.  Now that my kids are older (11 and 13) I can no longer convince them that slapping a floppy sun hat on their head, knotting a bandana around their neck and “riding” a plunger around the neighborhood makes a really neat-o “not to mention authentic!” cowboy costume. 

Cowgirl is happily oblivious to the fact her boots are on the wrong feet. Lion boy appears to be stunned at this bizarre turn of events.

No more generic costumes (hobo, gypsy, witch, plunger-bustin’ cowboy) easily whipped up through the creative use of discarded clothing and household items. 

Now, due to my lack of  sewing skills, I actually have to spend money on specific character costumes (Indiana Jones, Wolverine, Jack Sparrow).  This year it wasn’t too bad; I managed to come up with a couple of passable Prince of Persia assassin (“Hassansin, Mommy.  HASSANSIN!”) costumes by purchasing only the requisite weapons and a couple of large squares of black fabric.  This is a great triumph in my book.   

Halloween 2010

Then, of course, there’s the horror of compulsively stealing, literally, candy from a baby.  My baby.  Yes, I’m one of those unfortunates cursed at conception with a genetic lack of discipline.  If there is chocolate in the house, I will eat it.  Period.  I’ll never forget the sharp pain of self-repugnance I felt upon overhearing my husband say to my then four-year-old daughter (frighteningly precocious in many ways, including the apparent ability to keep track of every piece of her Halloween candy, which I hadn’t counted on) “Sweetheart, I would NEVER steal candy from you!”  I nearly choked on the purloined fun-sized Snickers bar I had crammed into my mouth only seconds before, and later managed to return the Butterfingers that were hidden in my pants pocket without getting caught.  Thank goodness.  (Now I simply buy Halloween candy at the beginning of October under the pretext of taking advantage of the best selection, hide it under the pretext of keeping it safe until the 31st, scarf it up in secret over the course of the next week or so under the pretext of…well…let me get back to you on that one…and then repeat the vicious cycle up until Halloween afternoon when I have to rush out and buy candy so we’ll actually have something to pass out to the trick-or-treaters.)

But the thing that really sends a chill up my spine is the aftermath.  The horrifying spectre of seventeen pounds of candy – per child, each insidious little fun-size piece a sugary WMD of tooth decay – leering up at me for weeks on end from the trick-or-treat collection bags (which have morphed into pillow cases – greedy little buggers.) 

This year, however, I think I finally gained the upper hand.  It actually started last Halloween, when I had the brainiac idea to pay the kids for whatever candy they didn’t want.  Unfortunately, being new to the concept and somewhat mathematically challenged, I offered them 25-cents per piece…and then wept as I counted out over $25 for each of them.  So on Sunday evening after they had returned from their rounds (just the two of them, on their own in our neighborhood for the first time – yeah, I might’ve had one or two pucker-y moments) and were basking in the glory of their candy haul spread out all over the living room floor, I announced, “I will pay you $1 for every six pieces of candy you give away.”

$36 worth of candy

Money truly is a great motivator.  My daughter gave away enough candy to earn $17; not to be outdone, my son earned $19.  That’s 216 pieces of candy that will NOT be ingested by my children (for whom brushing teeth is considered a heinous form of torture).  Money well spent, in my book!

Now I just have to get rid of everything they gave away before it ends up on my backside.  I think I’ll send it in to work with the hubby.  I’m sure the fact that the bag will contain no Butterfingers or Snickers bars is pure coincidence.

Note: 13 year-old, upon reading the above:  “This is giving me great insight into your twisted mind, Mommy.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. Shirley Marquardt permalink
    November 3, 2010 7:10 pm

    What a brilliant 13 year old! I could tell her about her mothers “twisted mind”, but I think that I will wait until she is 16, and then bring out the big guns. Not to be outdone, my Halloween candy experience ended with me fighting over the pillow case stuffed full of delights with our dog when my 12 year old was in the bathroom. Don’t let anyone tell you that an old dog can’t learn knew tricks, cause they are lying. My son was speechless as he came around the corner to find the two of us on the floor with our heads in his candy stash. I am really quite embarrased by the whole situation, and my son has squirreled away the treats so well that I can’t find them. And I have tried.
    Marie, you inspire me.

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