In all my adult life, I've never been a fan of Halloween. And not for religious reasons or because I'm easily frightened or anything like that. The truth is: Halloween depresses me. It seems desperate. But I'm a mom now. And biases and personal attitudes have no place when it comes to one's child and this candy-based yearly mayhem. So I suck it up, think of something creative and educational for my son to wear (he's no old enough to have strong opinions yet), get dressed in something I thought of that morning, buy seventy dollars' worth of candy, and wait for the knocks of tiny fits on the door.
And then, I make it rain.
Okay, so I'm not married to one of the professional football players in our town, the ones who answer the door themselves and give out FULL-SIZED CANDY BARS. I do only ever deal in "fun size." But with those, this lady does not skimp.
Last year was our first year in this neighborhood. It's a fairly nice neighborhood situated within walking distance of a not-so-nice neighborhood. I was warned beforehand that the kids from the poorer streets would flood ours. "Just be aware," said a neighbor. "Some will have two bags, saying they're collecting for a sick brother or sister." She shook her head to indicate that this was why America is in a terrible moral state.
Sure enough, I got a lot of kids at the door who weren't from our block. And yes, many held pillowcases for two. Some were clearly teenagers. (My mother cut me off at sixth grade, and I totally support her decision.) But I couldn't be as upset about it as some of the neighbors. I couldn't say, "Nuh uh, if your sister is really sick, let her come here and prove it. Also, quick, what's her birthday and middle name if she exists so much?" I couldn't tell the teenagers they were too old.
I figure: if you're willing to lie for candy, if you're willing to dress up when you're far too old for it, humiliate yourself in front of strangers, then dammit, you probably need these red-nougated 3 Musketeers bars more than I do. Have three. Go with God. Not my job to be the Sheriff of Halloween Town.
Maybe someday I will tell off these youths. Maybe someday I'll adopt the belief that it's my moral imperative to set these kids on the right path with my tough-but-fair rules on candy appropriations. Maybe a future president will someday say, "I was about to embark on a life of scamming and crime till one Halloween when a lady said 'No, I don't think you live around here and also I think you're making up that sick sibling and also are you like seventeen?'" But not yet. Not as long as we can afford the extra bag of candy it costs us once a year.
The lady next door can give out healthy snacks. The family across the street can give allergy-friendly stickers. The dentist can seriously take a vacation or just turn out the lights and don't answer the door because honestly, handing out dental floss on Halloween is like a divorce lawyer handing out his cards a wedding. No one wants your hard doses of reality today, sir. You are RUINING everyone's buzz. Not cool. And everyone can shake their heads at the bussed in poor kids. But that's not going to be me. Not this year, anyway. Because guess what? I don't hold this holiday sacred. I don't really care who shows up at my door. If it's within the two hour trick-or-treating window, you're getting a fist full of candy. It doesn't matter if you're too old, too obviously lying, the meter reader, or the sanitation department telling us that pizza boxes STILL aren't recyclable. You are going away with delicious empty calories in fun holiday packaging. And you will like it.
So this year will be another year of liberal candy distribution. Maybe it won't always be like this. And maybe I'm making it harder for the Halloween gatekeepers to get their point across, and yeah, maybe society needs such people. I suppose I'm glad we have them. But I'm even more glad I'm not one of them. Happy Halloween, anyone.