By Guest Blogger Leslie Helsius
The witching hour is almost upon us. The one day of the year in which ghouls and goblins walk about on the hunt for…..candy. Yes folks, it is Halloween time. I am a lover of Halloween. I always have been, I always will be. I remember as a child the hours of thinking of what “to be” for Halloween, the anticipation, getting dressed up and roaming the streets filling my bag with goodies. I remember coming home cold and exhausted and wet. Dumping my bag out on the floor and banishing my costume to a corner of the room so that I could properly sort though my tasty treasures. Making neat and tidy piles of candy…suckers, gum, hard candies, licorice and candy bars, only to put it all back in the bag. Taking it out again, sorting it and carefully selecting the sweet, sweet morsel I wanted to consume. Putting it all back in the bag. Taking it all out again, sorting it, scrutinizing every delectable foil wrapped treat, making the calculated, cautious choice…yes…there it is…..my next little piece of Halloween joy. Ah yes, it was a wonderful night.
Now my wonder lives on through my children. Well, it did. My oldest (Kid A) is in her first year of high school and is no fun at all now when it comes to Halloween (yes, I let my 13 year old go trick-or-treating). She does not like any of my costume ideas and thinks that Halloween is all about what she wants to dress up as. That is okay, because I have a two year old (Kid B) that doesn’t know any better and has no choice. My costume idea for them last year was a box of Kleenex for Kid A and a booger for Kid B. Sheer Awesomeness!! Unfortunately (for me), Kid A vetoed that. You have no idea how disappointed I was. I am sure some years down the road Kid B will be thanking her that no one dressed her as a booger. There will be no incriminating photos or “the year you were a booger” stories. It is truly a Halloween nightmare! This year Kid A wants to be a cat. A cat? How original (eye roll…mine, not hers). Not that there is anything wrong with a cat, it is the way she wants to do it…some ears and a tail. Seriously…have I taught you nothing child? If you are going to be a cat, be a cat! Or a cat burglar or a cat in a hat or road-kill-cat. Sadly, she just isn’t on that level. I take comfort in knowing that where I failed with Kid A and the love of Halloween, I still have years to work on Kid B. So here are some of my Tricks to make Halloween a spooktacular Treat!(hahahhaaaa…yes I am that lame).
– Please dress your child up. People (probably your neighbors) are spending (insane amounts of) money on candy to hand out to kids who knock on their doors. Why? Because at some point you do get too old to trick-or-treat, so the next best thing is to hand out the candy and see all the costumes. Dollar stores, thrift stores, garage sales, your garage, basement or even your own closets are good places to come up with creative costumes that won’t break the bank. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a box, markers and duct tape. Remarkable things can happen, like a Match Box car.
– Kids are creative and draw inspiration from the strangest places. Your little boy wants to be a stapler. Awesome. How to make a costume like that….I have no idea, but he may have a thought or two on how to make that a go. Listen to him and try to figure out how to make that walking office supply dream a reality.
– Keep climate in mind when picking a costume. I’m in Michigan. You never know what kind of weather you are actually going to have at the end of October. You can guess…..but never assume. And the weather people can’t really tell you either. It could be 70 or it could be snowing. Does that mean that when kid A wanted to be a princess I said no…of course not. Just make sure whatever costume you make or buy has enough room for warm layers underneath. Possibly even snow gear, like the kind you go skiing in. Or why not just be an Olympic Skier!
– Try to create or buy a costume that does not have a mask. Here is the thing. They are hard to see out of and they are hard to breathe in. They get sweaty and gross and visibility goes down to nearly nothing. The result will be removal of said mask, which goes back to the first point. Face paint and cheap make-up are great alternatives to the blinding, gag inducing confines of a mask.
– If they are wearing anything long – dress, cape, tentacles – make sure they can walk without tripping or getting their dress, cape, tentacles stepped on causing them to wipe out. Probably dropping their candy and crying. And it seems the older they are, the harder they cry when the drop their candy.
– Comfortable shoes. Need I say more? Seriously. It is bad enough when you have to carry the candy bag, you don’t want to carry the kid too.
– Glow sticks and flashlights are your friends. There are kids bolting every which way in a sugar induced frenzy. They do not care if they run you, your kids, grandma or the dog down. If you are in their way, you are fair game. They. Will. Not. Be. Stopped. If they are visible to you, you can get out of their way. They also don’t seem to heed the “look both ways before you cross the street” advice that has been drilled into their heads since they could walk. In fact, they have pretty much forgotten how to just…walk. They have one pace. Crazed. Making sure that kids (and you) are visible is a necessity.
– Always require payment for everything you do (beyond normal parenting things) in candy. Unless you hate candy (which I can’t imagine). Starting with payment for services rendered as a costume maker and candy bag carrier. Under no circumstances should you settle for the cast off candy. You know, the stuff your kids don’t want. Like the candy corns, or the mini bag of pretzels. No thanks. That should be given to you anyway upon the dumping and sorting of the candy bag. This is bonus candy. It belongs to you by default. You want a ride to your little friend’s house because its too cold? That will be a Snickers bar. You don’t pay, you can hoof it the couple of blocks that it is. You want me to get you to the next level on Mario Brothers, that will be two Butterfingers. Don’t want to divvy up….spend the next two weeks getting through it yourself. And no, I won’t help you later either….when your candy is gone. There will be no negotiations. No loans. And no freebies. If your kid has Halloween candy, you get payment. End of Story.