This year will mark my twelfth year for trick-or-treating with kids. I’m a seasoned pro. I can spot the candy my kids will toss out from a mile away. I know which neighbors give out the full sized bars and which will give us toothbrushes. The boys rely on this information when they are “in the trenches,” trying to hit every house they can and score what they think is the best stuff. (Toothbrushes may be well-meaning, but what kid in his or her right mind is really going to have Halloween enhanced by being reminded that candy isn’t good for them. Getting stuff that’s not good is the whole point.)
Still, if you live where there are a lot of kids as I do, Trick-or-Treating can get expensive, so I sympathize with people who want to participate and cut corners—even if the kids aren’t always grateful. I depend on warehouse stores for full-sized candy bar packs from a warehouse type store or buy bags of the snack-sizes of the brands kids like. If you have kids, ask them what they like getting in their sacks. I can tell you from personal experience you want to stay away from the jawbreakers or gumballs or that odd orange/black taffy stuff. (What is that anyway? Is it really edible? You couldn’t tell from my kids.)
This year? I’ve gone rogue.
I spied the package of Play-Doh that had 40+ mini containers in Halloween colors the other day. A lightbulb went off. I mean really, how much candy does a kid need?! Play-Doh can be fun. After walking the aisles a bit more I found sticker sheets, pencils, mini LEGO sets, cars and more. In fact, the store near me has 4 aisles dedicated just to Halloween toys. Most are the same price to stock up on the toys as it is to stock up on the candy.
I’m planning to have some candy on hand for the teenagers in the neighborhood—to avoid getting egged or TPed for giving out baby stuff if for no other reason. And my brother-in-law, the dentist, will be happy that we aren’t adding to the neighborhood sugar consumption. Or, maybe he’ll be upset at the lack of business this holiday drives his way. Either way, giving out some fun stuff to play with provides kids with a different type of Halloween experience, and any time I can promote play, I’m happy. And, I’ll leave it to the parents to select the toothbrushes.