Two important Halloween lessons

I was 24 the first time I felt like a real actual grown-up on Halloween.

My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I had just moved in to our first real actual house in a real actual neighborhood. As the end of October drew near, it occurred to me that we might be visited by real actual trick-or-treaters.

I had never hosted a trick-or-treat before. I’d always lived in apartment buildings where the corridors teemed with drunk twenty-somethings on Halloween rather than candy-seeking tots. So when the big day came around, I went to Costco and bought what seemed like a ludicrously large bag of candy…

…and emptied it into a bucket. Excited, we poured glasses of wine and waited.

With the first few rings of the doorbell, we jumped up from the couch, ran to the porch, and cooed at the cute little kids in their costumes before generously offering up multiple treats. After all, who wants to be that stingy house that only gives out one thing? We were young, we were cool, we were only, oh, a decade or so removed from the trick-or-treat experience ourselves! We did not want to be that house.

 Things were going great for about an hour.

And then we saw the buses.

As we soon learned, the next neighborhood over had a Halloween tradition that involved bussing its kids into our neighborhood (which was, admittedly, more affluent and probably safer) for trick-or-treating. Which would have been fine, except…

our candy situation. It was dire. Our generous payout policy had left us nearly bankrupt.

As the school buses disgorged hundreds (literally) of tiny pirates and zombies and fairy princesses, my husband carefully rationed our dwindling treat supply while I crashed around the kitchen, searching for anything that could be construed as an appropriate offering.

A half bag of Hershey’s Kisses and a box of granola bars bought us about five minutes. At which point we began to discuss how we were going to shut things down in a tactful manner. There was no ebb in the tide of children pouring on to our porch. It was inevitably going to be awkward.

Then I had an idea, and fetched our bucket of spare change.

Word spread quickly, and before long we had an actual line at our door.. As it turned out, these kids were way more excited about nickels and dimes than they were about Butterfingers and Snickers. Gasps and shrieks of excitement echoed around the porch as we doled out coins.

I don’t even know how much money was in the change bucket. Probably a decent amount. We’d been planning to eventually cash it in and spend it on something fun. Which, actually, we totally did.

And it was a small price to pay for two important lessons:

(1) There is nothing wrong with being that stingy house; and

(2) When it comes to Halloween Candy, always buy MORE. (There’s only upside!)

It’s been eight years since we lived in that first real actual grown-up house. We’re in a different neighborhood in a different state in a different time zone now, looking forward to another first trick-or-treat experience. I have no idea how many kids we will get tonight, but if a busload shows up, I am ready.

Happy Halloween!

Some of us are happier than others.

WTF is this? A straitjacket?

Lady, you have ruined my fourth afternoon nap.

We are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together.


30 responses to “Two important Halloween lessons

  1. OMG your cat!!!!!! Thanks for the LOLz. I have totally failed as a cat-mom and have yet to dress her up in a sad costume this year, hopefully I remember to do so tonight … I have a fantastic idea that she will HATE even more than last year’s tutu.

  2. ok the cat at the end seals the deal. i thought about dressing our white teenage kitty up as a candy corn but i put the costume on him a day early. shredded.

  3. I help with trick-or-treat at my friends’ house, which sounds a lot like your first house in that the next neighborhood over gets bussed in … and the rest of the city shows up, too, and quite possibly some of Oakland. Last year we gave out 1800 pieces of candy in 2.5 hours and had to shut it down. This year everyone who’s coming has to bring at least 300 pieces, and I have a giant Amazon Prime box of Swedish fish and Dum-Dums at my desk. I’m trying to breathe deep and prepare for the swarm. Happy Halloween!

  4. haha is that shirt from Target? I constantly eyed something similar every time I was there… then decided to get a bee costume to force upon my cat. It did not go well. She’s too damn smart about wiggling out of everything. Your big guy is a cutie though!

    • It is! Obviously it’s meant to be a dog costume…and the sad thing is, it’s a dog MEDIUM that’s supposed to fit up to 30 lbs. And it’s way too tight on my cat, he needs the next size up. My cat is apparently a LARGE dog.

      Most cats are pretty smart about wiggling out of things! My other cat would never allow it. I think my big guy is just too lazy to fight it, when it comes down to it, and I think he’s realized that he gets lots of attention with the shirt on, so he’s okay with it.

  5. How did you get your kitty to wear the outfit? Mine would never sit still for that! And the glaring I would get afterward…..!

    Our neighborhood used to get TONS of kids for Halloween. We’d get candy at Costco. Then one family moved away (they had like 10 kids) so there’s not as many anymore. We were stuck with too much candy last year. That’s not a good thing for me. I will eat it all!

    • Oh I got the glares afterward! But Parker is super easygoing about pretty much anything as long as he’s being touched/petted. He actually purrs while I clip his nails as long as I give his ears a scratch between snips. Basically he is an attention whore extreme. :)

  6. Good Luck with the candy. I suppose the only downside of buying too much is you’ll have to eat the leftovers. :-)

    I don’t have a costume yet for my dog, but I plan on trying to make something even if we dont get any trick or treaters. (I thought I had a medium size dog, but he’s pushing 50 lbs…)

  7. Your kitty’s expression is fairly similar to my beagle mix’s when I put her in her blue monster costume on Sunday…her brother, however, loveloveloved his football costume. Or more appropriately, the treats we fed him to get him to sit still for pictures :)

  8. Haha, kitteh is not amused. :-)

    My parents’ cats are pretty good about getting out of anything. Charlie wiggled out of a harness in two seconds flat.

  9. Yeah, looks like Parker’s pushing max capacity on that t-shirt. <3

    Seems like we get hoards of kids every OTHER year. No idea why. But yeah, I'd rather eat the remaining pound of candy myself through the first week in November than run out early. In our redneck neighborhood, no candy equals your house getting egged by disgruntled children.

  10. I’m curious what neighborhood you lived in. I’ve never seen buses of kids dropped off anywhere to go trick-or-treating, but do know of families driving over to the richer areas like Hancock Park or Cheviot Hills for better candy.

    (Also glad to see you back from your social media/blog break.)

    • This was when we were in Cleveland….we lived in Cleveland Heights, which was an older, densely-populated, somewhat eclectic and very academic (Case Western Reserve is there) neighborhood. The kids on the buses, I believe came from East Cleveland…which was just a few blocks away, with many of the same types of houses (older homes from the early 1900s) but many of which had become dilapidated and the demographic was definitely, on average, poorer. At least back then – this was several years ago!

  11. Those pictures of Parker are fantastic. They reminded me of Maru and getting stuck in the box and just sent me on a five minute distraction cycle of watching his videos.

    Our trick or treaters seemed highly disappointed in my candy selection of the mixed pack of Milk Duds, Whoppers, and Kitkats. They were all digging through the good stuff to find the Kitkats and the few bags of M&Ms I had in there. Suckers. I clearly bought the bag for the Whoppers and Milk Duds, so my plan worked perfectly.

  12. We’ve always managed to avoid trick or treaters – mostly because of the apartment complex thing and I never did the big neighborhood trick or treating as a kid – something to do with country living and the closest neighbor being 3/4 of a mile away!

    I’d have a hard time not eating that candy in the bowl…

    Love the cat shirt! He has perfected the death stare!

  13. We lived in the most rural area ever. So my mom would buy probably four bags of candy for maybe 5 trick or treaters. They’d still get a few pieces each and we’d sit and get fat the rest of the night. Win win.

  14. Hope you had plenty of candy last night – or today, for yourself!
    When we moved into our neighborhood, we bought candy the first year, excited about kids coming by. Then, we realized – there are no lights on our ‘street’ (a small cul-de-sac’), nor is there a sidewalk, and everyone goes to this one block in town that goes all out for Halloween (decorations, a maze, all sorts of crazy stuff). So now, if I buy Halloween candy, it’s definitely just for myself.

  15. I totally burst out laughing as I read your post to my husband.
    Thanks for sharing.
    This year we only had 12 kids visit – you need some candy ? ; )

  16. Your cat is awesome!

  17. Well, I’m 28 and still live in one of those apartment buildings so I think I STILL don’t feel like a grown up on Halloween. I love that you dressed your cat up slutty. 😉

  18. I am LOL’ing that your cat is wearing a medium shirt. Poor big fat kitty. I wrestle my dogs and cat into jester collars every year, which they hate.

    PS when are you going to share some pictures of your house progress? I spy a fab rug and coffee table, you need to AW your home renovation/decorating skills lady!

  19. Oh, I normally have the same experience! I live in CT in one of the nicer parts of our town and allll night people drive up with SUVs full of kids. But I like it – a lot of those kids live in areas where they would have to walk through gang violence to get their candy, so I’d much rather have them come where we live. Sooo we buy candy in earnest. But this year it totally back fired on us because maybe half as many kids came out this year? I guess because of the damage from the hurricane. So even with being way more generous than in the past, we have 3.5 enormous bags of candy left.


    That story is hilarious. Actual buses? I would have been losing my sh*t. Your solution was very clever!

  21. OMG – your cat. I have a black cat too and when you riffed the Taylor Swift lyrics…I died. Awesome, funny post!

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