Every year around this time -- as we rush around readying costumes, taping up hand-drawn ghosts and bats, and discussing whether the family jack-o'-lantern should look silly or scary -- a batch of irritating stories inevitably appears in the press. In them, misguided, if well meaning, authors suggest acceptable "alternatives to Halloween candy" or assert that "non-edible Halloween treats work, too."
I am here to stand up for dentally challenged, hyperactive children everywhere to say, unequivocally, that when it comes to trick-or-treating, there is no acceptable alternative to candy, and non-edible Halloween treats work only if you want to forever be labeled a killjoy by the kids in your neighborhood.
Geez, people, just break down and -- for one special, super-sweet day of the year -- give these kids what they want: candy, candy, and more candy.
And no, pencils and erasers and plastic spider rings are not the same thing.
Look, I'm not saying that kids should eat candy all day, every day of the year. In our house, we pretty much never buy our kids candy any other day of the year. Which is precisely what makes Halloween so precious.
For one day, and only one day, they get to go door to door, show off their costumes to the neighbors, and get showered in sweet, sticky treats that will last them for months and months and months on end. (Come to think of it, I think the dregs of last year's trick-or-treat rounds are still sitting in a kitchen drawer -- gotta clear those out before the new batch rolls in.)
I love seeing my kids excitedly examining and arranging their Halloween candy -- like each chocolate bar is a glinty gold coin in a treasure chest -- after they've returned from their local travels. They sort and stack. They swap. They share, saving favorite treats for beloved friends and family members. They study the labels with scientific intensity.
I remember doing the same thing myself. (Well, maybe not the sharing; they get food generosity from their father's side of the family.)
Why do people want to deprive kids of candy one precious, perfect day a year?
It's not fair. It's not right. Halloween without candy is like ... well, it's, like, no fun at all.
Do you intend to give out something other than candy for Halloween this year?
Image via respres/Flickr