Not bad for a fat girl


The Halloween Candy Quest


This has been a bit of a challenging time for us. At the end of August my sweetheart unexpectedly ended up in the hospital for several days following emergency surgery. It was stressful to say the least. It’s taking a while for him to fully recover, and as a result the pace of our lives has slowed down.

I’m good with the slow down. I’m a homebody at heart, so spending evenings reading and watching Harry Potter for the millionth time on the weekend works for me just fine. The thing is, the outside world hasn’t slowed down. Time keeps passing, and we’re already days away from the annual Halloween hoards.

Let me explain. Our neighborhood is family friendly. Very family friendly. The street behind us, in particular. They do a huge Christmas light display every year, and bring in a horse-drawn carriage, hot cocoa, local school choirs, and more. For Halloween, it looks like something out of a Hallmark channel movie, with dozens of kids and families happily criss-crossing the street, filling their pumpkin shaped buckets with candy. It’s lovely. Incredible, and lovely.

Being on the back side of that, and across from the park, we get a lot of foot traffic as well. So much that it doesn’t pay to go inside and shut the door. For the past several years I’ve parked myself on the driveway with a tv table and a large bowl of candy. A second large bowl sits ready just inside the door. Bags of candy lay on the dining room table, waiting to be opened. My sweetheart delivers candy to me several times during the evening using this trade-off method.

We get the good candy. No crappy cheap stuff for us. After all, if there’s leftovers we’re going to eat them. We also get plenty. Running out just doesn’t seem like a good option. So far we’ve avoided toilet paper and eggs, but I don’t think those are too common in our neighborhood anyway.

Well, here’s the thing, we don’t have any candy yet. Normally we would be loaded and ready by now, but we haven’t gotten a thing. I also haven’t done any decorating. No outside lights, no cute pumpkin quilts hanging on the walls, not even the spooky haunted mansion tea-light holder. The decorations are all in the attic, which is accessible only by ladder. Normally my sweetheart gets them down, but this year that’s not possible. I could try to, but I just don’t feel motivated to take the risk of falling off the ladder (it’s a very real possibility).

So to recap: no decorations, no candy, no Halloween spirit.

Can we just turn off the light this year and hide in the back of the house?

No, that wouldn’t be right.

So off we go to the supermarket. They have a 50% off coupon on candy. The good stuff. Hopefully there’s some left. Happy Halloween.


A Peanut Free Halloween?

teal-pumpkin-660x330Did you all see the teal pumpkins this year? I saw quite a few on my Facebook feed, but none in my neighborhood. Maybe the word got out too late, after all, I only heard about it on the news the day before Halloween.

For those that missed it, there has been a move toward handing out treats that children with allergies and other food issues can enjoy, such as stickers, pencils, and small toys. Homes that have such treats display a teal pumpkin. I think this is a lovely idea, and provides a nice way for children who have various food issues to participate fully.

That being said, I still take issue with the anonymous mom who plastered her neighborhood with flyers pressuring her neighbors to give out only peanut-free treats, and provided a list of alternatives, including carrots and raisins. No kid wants carrots or raisins for Halloween, allergies or not. Kids want candy, and Halloween is the one night a year when they have the ability to go around scavenging for it. Presumably they put at least some effort into a costume, and they put in the effort to go door to door. Their reward is the candy, or other treat.

Yes, I know that some kids have allergies, sometimes even severe enough to be life-threatening. Those kids can’t eat certain candies, that’s a given. So parents, here’s where you come in. Do what works for your child, within the context of the holiday. Does it mean that your child has to stay home? No! It may mean that you have to be extremely careful about sorting candy, or that you don’t accept any candies that you know are a problem for your child. Maybe it means that you trade out the part of the stash that’s no good for your child. You can make this work, without trying to shame everyone else into passing out carrots and raisins.

Last night we had that exact scenario. A boy of about ten came clomping up the driveway, very awkwardly, in his scuba fins. His costume was entirely homemade, and certainly took a great deal of time and effort. His sister and mother were right there with him, and he requested any candy that we might have with no nuts. We had something for him, and he was delighted. He was friendly, confident, and very carefully watched by his equally friendly mother. I’m sure that if we had no candy for him, there wouldn’t have been pouting or tears. JackOLanternThis child knows he has an allergy, and he has to live with it. His mother is teaching him how.

I think that working with our kids to understand that sometimes things don’t work out exactly in their favor is doing them more of a service than trying to bully everyone around you into treating your child differently. I’m afraid that type of behavior can easily breed a victim mentality. Yes, people have different needs, but in the case of Halloween, those needs can be easily accommodated within the family.

The teal pumpkins are fine. They’re thoughtful and those families that provide something different should be thanked. I might even do it next year, but this year we gave out plain old candy, and lots of it. Halloween is about the fun, not about making a political statement. Yes, let your kids trick-or-treat, and then address the loot situation at home. I think flexible parents raise flexible kids who can learn to accept that fact that eating certain foods is a bad idea for them. In spite of it all, Halloween can still be a fun night for kids, even those with allergies.


Throwback Thursday – The Candy Store

There used to be a store in my neighborhood where a kid could ride his or her bike and stock up on candy for very little money. It was located about two blocks from my home, and about a block and a half from the high school. It was owned by one of my classmates’ parents, and the store shared their family name. In fact the family lived behind the store in the same building. That place was important in our neighborhood, from childhood right through graduation. A lot of kids spent their allowance and their lunch periods in that store. Here are some of things I remember buying there as a kid:

1. Wax bottles– Who knows what exactly those tiny bottles held, but they were so darn appealing.

2. Candy dots– Yes, you always ended up with paper in your mouth, but somehow it seemed worthwhile anyway.

3. Wax lips– No need for Botox with these around.005c124e59a58256

4. Fire balls– From spicy to sweet the pain was delicious.

5. Candy necklaces and ring pops – High fashion for the sugar loving set.

6. Bazooka Bubblegum– It was usually hard as a rock, but the comics were hilarious.

7. Cracker Jacks– Although I didn’t like peanuts, I loved the little prizes.

8. Fresca– It came in a tall glass bottle, and nothing was better on a hot summer day (never mind the saccharin).

9. Bottle caps– These little candies were shaped like soda bottles and were fun to eat.

10. Comic books– I usually went for the candy, but once in a while I picked up Archie or Richie Rich.

Thanks Mr. and Mrs. B, for running a store that a generation of kids holds in their hearts.