October 27, 2011 by Alison Grisham
By Alison Grisham
Halloween is just a few days away, which can only mean one thing — I’m eating candy corn by the fistful and mortgaging the house to buy the remaining candy needed for Oct. 31. There was a time when you could make candy apples or pass out cookies. But I don’t care if their grandmother makes it, there isn’t a kid from Sacramento to Sarasota who’s eatingeating anything unwrapped on Halloween anymore.
So if you live in a busy neighborhood, you seriously have to buy like 15 bags of candy to keep up with the demand. And I do mean demand. It’s not like trick-or-treaters are always cute little six-year-old girls in princess costumes or eight-year-old boys dressed as astronauts. No. These days, the crowd has evolved to include a more diverse and mature group.
Sure, the little ones still run across the lawn with their glowing jack-o-lantern flashlights and toothy grins. But just as frequently, there are “kids,” who aren’t dressed up at all. I’m pretty sure I handed out candy to a 22-year old mechanic holding a pillow case last year or maybe he was a pimp, because a gaggle of teenaged girls dressed as “school girls” and “librarians” showed up shortly thereafter and I spotted them giving him 50 percent of their candy haul.
I’ve thought about turning down the ne’er-do-well who aren’t in costume. But most of them look like they already have parole officers and I don’t want to have to explain to the police why I wouldn’t just give up the Reese’s cup.
I’m really not trying to complain. But come on. It’s a holiday that encourages a costume. At least cover up with a wig and, say, an eye patch and let me think … wow, he’s tall for his age.
Then there are my other favorites, the kids that get driven around by the carload, stopping house to house to collect the goodies. Forget the tsunamis, when kids can’t walk on their own two feet for free candy, it’s a clear sign that the end of the world is near.
Halloween used to be such a sweet holiday. When I was a kid, our mom helped my brothers and me create homemade costumes to look like gypsies and hobos, and we collected for Unicef. I remember a neighbor who would let us reach into a big bowl of change and grab as much as we could carry with our pudgy little hands. Then we’d painstakingly put each coin into our bright orange collection boxes before hitting the road again.
We had to stay in our own neighborhood, the oldest kid on the block led the way and half the fun of the night was trading candy with your siblings when you got back home, leaving a pile of MaryJanes and Zagnuts on the floor that no one wanted.
This year I’m fighting back. I’m planning two bowls of candy. One will contain delicious treats and goodies for the adorable little ghosts and goblins who don’t have to shave more than twice a week and manage to make it to my house on their own steam. The other bowl will contain MaryJanes and Zagnuts. I knew if I was patient I could use them some day.