Get your ugly face off my doorstep. I promise not to come to your house and grab your goodies; unless you have M&Ms with peanuts. Then we can barter. But for now, go away because it’s not fun anymore. If you’re over 12 and don’t have special needs, this crusty curmudgeon is saying “Get off my lawn!”
This Halloween, I choose not to be assaulted by marauding packs of greedy teenagers who terrorize the neighborhood and think I owe them free candy to stuff into their dirty pillowcases. Why do they assume it’s their right to seize a holiday meant for cute little children dressed as pirates, ghosts, and witches? Here’s my trick for the teenage treaters: no candy for you.
The last few years have changed my participation in the holiday. My children are grown and have their own kids. I enjoy seeing their cute costumes, but I no longer welcome masked strangers to my home. The festivities were ruined when drivers from outside the area brought cars full of real monsters who swarmed through the neighborhood, repeatedly rang doorbells, grabbed all the treats, complained if the candy bars were too small, and smashed the jack-o-lanterns on their way out. I think if you can drive a vehicle, you’re too old to trick-or-treat.
The gangs of gangling candy-grabbers didn’t even wear costumes, but maybe that was a good thing. The costumes I’ve seen in the stores resemble miniature pole-dance outfits for toddler sluts or bloody murder victims so frightening they cause me to experience a psychotic episode. The party store managers don’t approve of my actions when I curl into a fetal position on the floor and scream, “Make it go away!”
Halloween used to be fun. When my kids were pre-school age, they chose Halloween costumes from clothes we already owned. My son wore his calico shirt and vest with his dad’s cowboy hat. A moustache painted with an eyebrow pencil completed his outfit. My daughter wore my old dance dress with her own leggings. Both were excited as we walked around the neighborhood and collected treats from families we knew.
We returned home to answer the door, marvel at the cute homemade outfits, and give treats to children from the surrounding area. I allowed my kids a few pieces and sent them to bed. After they were asleep, I inspected their treasures and removed all the M&M Peanut candies for myself. I only was concerned about too much sugar rotting their teeth. Years later they told me they knew about my theft, but didn’t care. Obviously, I raised outstanding children
One year, I made the mistake of reading how to make homemade costumes. This was before the soul-crushing examples on Pinterest. I stayed up all night sewing a Holly Hobby outfit, complete with pinafore and bonnet. This labor of love was worn once, so I learned to be wiser with future costumes and encouraged them to express their imagination by creating their own costumes from whatever they owned. We also stopped the commercialized door-to-door begging when the children were around eight years old. Instead of prowling the streets for stale candy leftover from previous holidays, I purchased some candy for them, organized a party at home, and they were happy.
It’s fun to see little ones all dressed up, and I endorse creative play that sparks imagination. This Halloween, we’ll take photos of the grandkids and give them cards and small gifts. The evening will end at home with the lights out and the doors locked. Think of all the teeth we’ll save.
(Featured on The Huffington Post 50 on Oct. 31, 2015)