I love me some Halloween. Not the dressing up or even decorating; I’m good for a few pumpkins (painted, not carved–ain’t nobody got time for that mess) and an easy Miley Cyrus costume (we bore a certain resemblance back… before), but that’s about it.
My jam is trick-or-treating, specifically handing out the candy. I love seeing kiddos in costume hopped up on sugar and the power that comes with being allowed to tramp through the neighbor’s yard.
Until I got married, I’d always lived in apartments. And you know what’s terrible? Trick-or-treating in an apartment complex. No one (outside New York, Boston, and Chicago, I assume) does it. Every year, I’d stock up on candy that I’d end up scarfing down while watching Gilmore Girls reruns. But, no longer. A house! Certainly now I’d have trick-or-treaters!
I snagged some last minute costumes (Pirate Wench, because Halloween eve, obviously, and they were a little light on anything of much substance, or fabric), loaded up with three value-size bags of candy from Sam’s Club, and waited.
First a few kids came, the younger ones whose parents come to the door to make sure this isn’t going to go belly up by my kidnapping their tiny dinosaur/super hero/pumpkin (“He just couldn’t decide!”) or by their tiny Super Man sprinting between my legs and locking himself in my bathroom (true story). Let’s just say the Pirate Wench costume made me more popular with some than with others…
As darkness settled, the bigger kids came out, the ones who could run door to door while their parents tugged wagons of beer, sustenance for the quest, and waited by the mailbox. It was then that I became the most hated mom in the neighborhood.
I opened the door to the sweetest looking cowboy I’d ever seen. About seven-years-old, he was in the pure Halloween glee zone that comes with cooler temperatures, being out after dark, and legit wearing the dress up clothes that maybe some of your friend are already over.
I thrust my two pumpkins of candy toward him and told him to grab a handful. The bounty was epic: fun-sized Twix and Snickers, Dove chocolates, and the Hershey’s fall line weighed down the grinning pumpkin’s plastic handle.
“Do you have anything that doesn’t have chocolate?” he asked, perfectly pleasantly.
I froze. I, the Starburst-loving, Hot Tamale-craving, gummy-sneaking sugarful mom had not one piece of candy that wasn’t soaked in chocolate. “No…I don’t, buddy,” I said.
I’d like to tell you that the kid threw a tantrum, that he came back later that night and egged my house, or that he at the very least got teary-eyed.
Instead, he said, “Ok!”, grinning as he ran to the next house, off to find more booty for his side saddle. His dad, sipping a koozie-swaddled lager by our mailbox, witnessed the entire exchange, including the moment that my face hollowed, a clear sign that the spirited Halloween wind had been ripped from my sails, and simply waved as he rolled the wagon along.
It’s been four years since that happened, and you can bet your plastic pumpkin that I always make for damn sure to have straight up sugar candy on hand for that little cowboy, should he ever return. I hated myself that night, but it was one of the best parenting lessons I ever got.