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.
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.