I don’t need a costume. I don’t need a basket. I don’t need shaving cream or eggs. All I need are these two hands and time. The countdown is on. In less than a month, I’m getting that candy.
Halloween is for kids. We get it. They dress up and are sent out to collect treats from the tricksters around the neighborhood. The yearly tradition sees them heading from door to door, begging strangers to give them chocolate and they usually come back happy. As moms and dads, it’s our jobs to guide them in their pursuits and make sure none of the homeowners nab ‘em.
Before long, the bags get heavy and we’re carrying them ourselves. The kids are tired, the air is cold, and we’re way too far away from our starting point to magically transport home. It’s another mile and a half to homebase and, as the group gets bigger and bigger, you have to look all around to make sure you didn’t lose the kids you showed up with.
It’s an exhausting night that ends with you, the unrewarded parent, watching your child dump a basket of fun size heaven onto the carpet and separate it all into piles. There is a fruity pile, a chocolate pile, a lollipop pile, and a pile of coconut/almond/licorice stuff that you’re told you can have because your kid doesn’t like it. Great, kid. Thanks. It’s enough to make you want to choke them with the band on their Spiderman mask.
Of course, this year might be different. With Covid-19 as the ultimate trick, you have to wonder if door-to-door is off the table for our spooky little buggers. Sadly, many assume that the elimination of trick-or-treating could make this a year without candy.
If you think that though, you must not have kids. Halloween candy comes from many more places than just the front doors of strangers. There are little baggies sent home from class with a note that reads “from your friend Caleb”. They have drawings of ghosts that were obviously done by Caleb’s mom, but we play along. Thanks, Caleb. Two Snickers, M&Ms, a Dum Dum pop, and a broken whistle. Score.
Caleb is just one of many and soon, those baggies add up. You can store them with the gifts from family and the ones left on your doorstep in bags that say “boo”. It all goes into the big stash in the kitchen. It all becomes community candy.
Then…there’s the motherlode. There’s the sugary bounty that no one has to beg for. It’s the biggest haul of them all and it’s the candy that – yes – we purchased ourselves.
You know what I mean. Every year, you buy way too much candy on the off-chance that you’ll get 800 trick-or-treaters rather than your usual nine. So you get giant bags upon giant bags of delicious treats for “the house”. You put them all in big bowls, hoping that you can give them out to all the masked intruders. Well, kind of hoping.
This candy is definitely not meant for you. Oh no. Honest. You’re so steadfast in your desire to give these treats away that you even make sure not to buy your favorite brand. If you love peanut butter cups, you purposely buy Twix. If you love Twix, you purposely buy Baby Ruth. You even tell people. You brag about it.
They had M&Ms, but I knew I’d eat all the M&Ms, so I got Blow Pops.
Aren’t those M&Ms over there?
Oh, yeah, those came in his backpack from Caleb.
Inevitably, the candy carolers don’t show up in the droves you expect and all that candy becomes family candy. It goes into the giant pot and soon, you’re like the Scrooge McDuck with Corny Syrup gold. If you could dive headfirst into Fun Dip, you would,
So, is this the point where you steal the candy from your kids and eat it yourself? No. Not quite yet. Patience, young lion. There’s a precise time to hold out and that’s the big secret that almost any parent finds out within the first few Halloweens. You wait…about a week.
Until they forget about the candy.
Yes. Your kids will forget about the candy. Sure, the first few days are spent rationing Nerds and allowing them one Hershey’s bar before bed. But, before long, Halloween is a million years away in their heads. The costumes are balled up in the back of the closet. They’re busy making construction paper turkeys from outlines of their hands and writing letters to Santa. We, the grownups risk forgetting too, as we have gone from complaining about all the Pumpkin Spice flavors in Starbucks to griping about all the Christmas music in Target.
And then, my friends, is when we get that candy.
As someone who still has Sour Patch Kids with Easter Bunnies on them in the cabinet and Swedish Fish from 2019 in the back of the cupboard, I’ve seen it firsthand. Our children have short term memories and, before you know, even if that candy is in their face, it’s become invisible. You get it. You win. You earned it.
So chill your pumpkins. Give them until the first week of November. Your time is coming. They might eat a lot of good stuff by then, but there will be plenty left at the end. You get it all. And you didn’t even need a costume.