Monday, October 15, 2007

Holy candy, Batman!

It's that time of the year again! Time for Halloween. And while your newspapers, TV stations, and schools may be flooded with things like Halloween safety tips and other nonsense, Bone is bringing you information you can use. Today I present Bone's Halloween Candy Tips For Kids.

After all, Halloween is not about ghosts, or pumpkins, or the Devil. It's about candy, and Jamie Lee Curtis. The word halloween comes from hallowed, which means holy, and weenie, which when you're a kid tastes just as good as candy. So basically, Halloween means "holy candy."

So here we go, kids. And by kids, I don't mean fifteen year old girls who put on a flannel shirt and call themselves hobos. First of all, flannel is coming back someday, and I'll be ready when it does. Second of all, if you're old enough to bear children and legally drive a motorcycle, you're old enough to buy your own candy.

Tip #1: Quality Over Quantity
While your goal starting out the evening is to fill up your bag(s) with candy, remember this: Every piece of crap candy in your bag means less room for the good stuff.

Make a mental note of houses that give out good candy, and conversely, those that give out things like toothbrushes and pencils with a little ribbon around them. Um, it's frickin' November, lady. I've had my school supplies since August, but thanks anyway. Oh and by the way, don't look for me next year. This house has officially been blacklisted.

Know your 'hoods and maximize your time. You only have a few hours one night a year to amass as much candy as possible. If there are only two good houses in a neighborhood of twenty homes, don't waste your time. Skip it, and double up on the good houses.

Chances are, they won't remember you've already been there earlier in the night. Plus, people like giving away candy. It makes them feel good. So by going to the same house three times in one night, you're making them feel three times as good.

Tip #2: All Fruit Is Bad
Few things are more disappointing in the life of a child than having a bulbous apple or orange dropped into his or her Halloween bag. Actually, I can't think of anything worse.

Back in my trick-or-treating days, my initial thought upon receiving fruit was always the same, Gee thanks. Could I have a can of spinach, as well? And while I'm here, maybe I could recite my multiplication tables for you.

Fruit is bad, no matter what the doctor and your parents say. (Remember these are the same people who give you shots and make you go to school.) Besides its non-sugary taste, fruit is quite heavy and weighs down your bag. Get rid of it as soon as possible, perhaps by slipping it inside your sister's bag when she isn't looking.

And if your parents try to object to you throwing fruit away, just tell them a scary lady with nine cats gave it to you and told you it was a very special kind of apple that she made just for you. That should do the trick.

Tip #3: Choose A Practical Costume
While the thirty dollar Harry Potter costume with the plastic mask might look great, chances are you'll wind up spending half your night tripping over the legs, retying strings, and stepping in holes because you can't see very well out of those tiny eye slits.

I recommend no mask at all. Some face paint or whiskers drawn on will work just fine. If people ask what you're supposed to be, just act really sad/confused/shy and say, "I don't know. Mom said we couldn't afford a real costume." And if necessary, start crying. Remember you're out there to get candy, not win a beauty pageant.

Tip #4: Travel alone
I have no hard evidence to back this up, but I believe that you receive more candy on average if you trick-or-treat by yourself than if you go with other people. I base my theory on two principles.

First, the candy allocators might feel sorry for a kid who is having to trick-or-treat alone.

Second, look at it like this. If a homeless person came to my door asking for money, I might give them $20. But if five homeless people came to my door at the same time, would I give them all $20? Of course not. I would instead not answer the door and pretend I wasn't home.

In closing, let me say that every town is a little different. You have to figure out and implement the best strategy for your area. The bottom line is this: Once you realize trick-or-treating is a logical, methodical process of collecting candy and not just haphazardly going around to random houses, you'll be eating Reese's Cups and Mini 3 Musketeers well into early December.

"Candy on the beach, there's nothing better. But I like candy when it's wrapped in a sweater..."


  1. LOL! You are so right. I am a good candy house. Reese's live here. Plus, I usually take the kids out and leave the candy in front of the door. Some lucky treater always get to dump the whole thing in their bag.

  2. I grew up in the sticks, which meant there was no walking to trick or treat in the neighborhood. Mom had to drive, and would only stop where we knew people. An average trick or treat night we went to 10-15 houses max. Then there was the year that my little brother was born... I had to stay in town with my aunt and cousin. They lived in a neighborhood, a big one. My aunt let us walk the streets then she would drive us to the next block in the car. By the end of the night Anna and I had 3 black husky garbage bags full of candy.
    That leads me to the next important rule of trick or treating...
    Go home and empty your bag mid way through the night. People feel sorry for the kids who don't have much candy. And, they might be ready to go to bed so they give you what is left!

  3. I totally agree with #3. One time, when I was little my mom made me dress up like a dice. I looked super cute, but I had a box over me. I was doing well with the box on me, but after I got tired and it was became dark I tripped. I dumped all my candy on someone's yard, and could find half. I started crying, because everyone had more candy then me and they were laughing at me. It was a horrible costume. I will never make my kids be a dice, not matter how cute the they will look!!!

  4. Bone I don't know how to say this so I just will.

    Maybe your town is different but I think most towns don't have Halloween unsupervised by parents trick or treating--remember your wussification post?

    Houses are pre-selected and they're usually capped off by a party in the school or something community organized

    And parents go through the bags and ration them--throw away anything not wrapped

    I know I live in NY but I talk to people who live other places who are mommies or daddies and no kid gets to trick or treat alone at unsupervised houses

    Halloween's just not what it used to be

    Here blocks out do each other to be best decorated and there's the parade

    And if you wiki Halloween I think that's it's second to something in something big

  5. Nancy: Oh man, I would have visited you at least twice each year! I have to say I was always conscientious at those houses which had candy sitting out with a sign that said "Please take one." But half the time, someone had come along before me and emptied the bowl.

    Melanie: 10-15 houses max?!?! Oh, your poor thing. Yes, you're correct. I actually thought about including that somewhere in the post. Empty out your bag if at all possible. No one wants to give much candy to a kid whose bag is already overflowing.

    OK Chick: Aww, poor thing. So basically what you're saying is, you rolled the dice? Bwahahahaha.

    I'm loving these "One time when I was little" stories!

    Pia: Oh, we always had a driver following along the road at 0.5 mph while we walked house to house. I guess I thought that went without saying.

    I never ate anything unwrapped. I'm sure I was probably showing germophobic tendencies even then :)

    But yes, I was wondering as I wrote this if and how Halloween had been wussified over the years.

  6. Awesome post Bone! And so very timely. I'll make sure that Darly sees this before she heads out.

    Should I be annoyed with the kids who can't be bothered to use the sidewalks? We've got these annoying little snits who think tramping through my flowers to get to the candy is just fine. I think that this year I'll buy some crappy candy to give to them.

  7. Ohh I always went for the comfy costime - cute farmer girl in overalls, gypsy, cute farmer girl in overalls, a cat in leggings and a big sweater, cute farmer girl in overalls, you can tell which was my favorite..... for fruit my parents always said "in the trash with that!"....not sealed you don't eat it!

    What are you dressing up as for Halloween this year?

  8. stay away from my children you Halloween Scrooge! lol

    Simple costume? Travel alone? grrr

    In Philly I had to buy 25 big bags of candy and ALWAYS ran out. ( At that point though my kids were in for the night and I could swipe some of their bad candy and give it away lol)

    Here in Fl I get fewer kids so I have bought some cool things and will hand them out. I even went to Target and got some Halloween toys to give to some of my favorite kids. I bet I will have about 30 total come through.

    What are you going out as on Halloween Bone? *wink

    Oh and following up on Pias comment, my kids do go trick or treating without an adult these days (12, 12 and 14 they are old enough)but they have to be in groups and they have cell phones and have to check in when they leave a particular subdivision. I actually miss the time when I was home alone handing out candy (my spouse got to go around with the kids back then)... I'd have a drink, light a fire and chat on the phone with my other girlfriends who were on candy duty that night too. Good times, good times! hehehe

  9. I plan on buying bags of candy for halloween this year....

    even when I know the chances of having trick or treaters in my gated community is about 5%.

    like you said, if you are old enough to drive, buy your own candy (and that's precisely what I do)

  10. I in no way shape and whatever was anti-Halloween, just want to make that clear. It was my favorite holiday

    Here parents ring doorbells for kids because they're too shy or whatever excuse they use. They don't follow the kids which would be nice--they're an integral part of the process

    It's become an adult's holiday here and I find that sad

    When I was seven I was Sheena, Queen of the Jungle--wore a leopard skin one arm custome--my hair was down and wild, my mother put black eye makeup around my eyes and I wore red lipstick--carried a bat

    Only problem was it was 45 degrees and I refused to wear a coat. Probably got sick don't remember

    Wish I could find the picture. Hope I have the negative

  11. I will remember these rules when I go trick-or-treating. Sure I am old enough to buy my own candy... I've never had anyone tell me I'm too old to be trick-or-treating; just mean glares as I walk away. :o)

  12. Renee: Yes, I urge all parents to show these rules to their children.

    I would say go easy on them, they're only kids. You could deduct one piece of candy per trampled flower or something.

    MKS: I don't remember any of my costumes. I just remember by the end of the night, I had discarded any type of hat or mask I may have been wearing and barely resembled the kid who began the evening.

    I always wondered if people were just trying to get rid of their fruit before it spoiled.

    Kate: I just meant go to the door alone. You can still drive them around.

    I haven't dressed up for Halloween in years. Any ideas? :)

    DCChick: Oh, I do the same thing. I have ten or twelve trick-or-treaters at most where I live now. That means more candy for me!

    Pia Savage: Sorry, but I will now have to require you to find that picture. Maybe you should go again as that this year. Bring Sheena back!

    That reminds me of Seinfeld's bit about how his Mom would make him wear his winter coat over his Superman costume.

    Charlotta-love: I always start out ignoring the kids who look way too old. Then when I don't put any candy in their bags, they extend their arms towards me and open their bag wider. I eventually give in, thinking maybe they have a pituitary problem.

  13. i remember sorting out my haul when i got back from trick or treating and swapping with my friends/sister for the ones we didn't like.

    too bad sugar makes me a moody bitch now. heh.

  14. Hahahaha, you made me giggle at my desk!!!! This is so true!!!!
    I considered handing out the beers that have been living in my BF's fridge 'cause no one is drinking do you think the chitlins of the 'hood would feel about that ;-)

  15. I dated a guy that had lots of younger brothers and sisters. They maximized their time by roller blading around the neighborhood. They would then bring the goods back and dump them so their bags would be empty for the next round. We would then of course pillage the goods for the stuff we liked! Whoo! Yay Halloween!!!

  16. I should mention that if I think a particular kid's outfit is adorable, I tend to give them more candy, so cuteness definitely counts. So does originality, for me anyways. If I were an adult and I saw a little kid dressed like a dice, I would give them so much of the good candy!

    I actually don't get a lot of trick or treaters at my apartment complex but I always buy a bag of candy just in case.

  17. I'm not even going to touch that second paragraph. Warped, but hilarious. Completely hysterical.

    Only you, Bone, could make Halloween a festival of laughter. I'll be sure to keep your rules in mind when I'm purchasing the candy for the trick-or-treaters, giving the candy out and - most importantly - picking out my Halloween apparel. :) Thanks for all the tips!

    And, if I may, I will add a tip for older siblings: If your parents are cruel and make your too-old-to-be-trick-or-treating and too-cool-to-be-caught-dead-in-a-costume self out on the streets as a chaperone for your little brother or sister, don't dismay. You, too, get tons of pity candy. I always make sure and give at least two handfuls of candy to these poor tweens and teens. It makes the humiliation almost worth it.

  18. I'm going to print this up and give it to my students. You'll get full credit, of course.

  19. Sizzle: Hmm, seems like we may have traded candy, too. I was always more than happy to part with any and all candy corn. Blech.

    Arlene: I think you would undoubtedly earn the lasting reputation around the hood as that lady who passes out beer to the kids for Halloween.

    Carnealian: Aha! I was always suspicious that my Dad snuck a few candy bars out of my bag every year.

    Xinher: I agree. Cuteness does play a part. As does pity. But over the long haul, as a kid, I think you come out better going with fast and practical and hitting as many houses as possible.

    Avery Laine: Thanks. And yes, this could also be helpful to candy buyers.

    An older sibling is much better as a driver than a parent. They tend to let you get away with more, plus there is a decent chance you have some blackmail on them you can use to convince them to stay out later.

    Shelby: Thank you.

    Scarlet Hip: I would appreciate that. And I expect to be compensated once this winds up in the student handbook.

  20. "Few things are more disappointing in the life of a child than having a bulbous apple or orange dropped into his or her Halloween bag. Actually, I can't think of anything worse." Heehee hee.
    I'll tell you what was worse, getting a fist full of ugly shrivelled walnuts, I so would have rather had apples or oranges.

  21. I'm looking forward to your trade-able/nontrade-able candy conversion chart. How many smarties/sweettarts does it take to equal the coveted peanut butter cup these days? Does anyone really like those peanut butter toffee orange and black wrapped candies or the root bear hard candies? I generally find them unwrapped and stuck to carpet under the couch years later.

  22. hummm... idk Batman? Spiderman?

  23. You made some very good points! I've always made mental notes of the "good" houses ... meaning, they have the "good" candy!

    I drive my kids to those houses so we get the good stuff. Especially the rich stay at home wives that give full size snickers bars to each kid! I love that lady!!!

  24. LOLOL! Boy, could my boys have used your sound advice a few years ago! Now, I just fill their bags and call it a night. *grin*

    And the apple/orange thing. Do you know, they (the snooty PTA moms - don't get me started) actually thought it was a good idea to pop an orange in the kids' Christmas goody bags?! That went down in my youngest son's school party history as being the WORST party he's ever had.


    *mumbles under breath* Apples and oranges ... it's a holiday for pete's sake. Feed them good food AFTER the holiday is over. Sheesh.

  25. YOu gonna be home Halloween night? I'm bringing SHayla by. lol

  26. GirlFPS: Aww, someone gave out walnuts? :) Yeah, that doesn't sound like a lot of fun stacked up next to all those chocolate and sugary goodies.

    Sylvia: Um, I have a confession. I went to three different stores trying to find those black and orange wrapped toffee and peanut butter kisses O:) And I bought three bags.

    Kate: I used to have a Batman t-shirt. Maybe I should go with that. What are you going as?

    Kerry: Oh man, full size Snickers!?!? I can't say for certain that I ever got one of those.

    Write From Karen: it's a holiday for pete's sake. Feed them good food AFTER the holiday is over.

    Well said :)

    Java Boo Boo: As far as I know, I'll be here.

  27. lol ok should probably say that this only works when you live in a town thats big enough that 1. people wont call you by name...2. your teacher doesnt give you the pencil...(they never have, they usually give the best candy) can hit all the houses in town before the times up...;)...nice song btw...:)

  28. oh and i forgot...thats also in an area that you werent forced to where a snowsuit under your costume...darn early snow!!!

  29. Tagster: Haha. Yes, I suppose if you can hit all the houses in town, it takes some of the strategy out of play.

    Thanks! I love it anytime someone comments on the lyrics :)