Thursday, October 31, 2013

6+ Ways to Keep Your Sanity While Trick-or-Treating This Halloween

Today's the day! One of my favorite holidays, Halloween! My yard is all decorated, the kids (and I) have our costumes ready, bags of candy ready for trick-or-treaters, and we are counting down the hours until my little spawns can be released on the neighborhood to beg for candy. Sugar-induced comas are right around the corner, I can just feel it!

This year, I'm dressing up as a creepy doll, The Girl is a creepy clown, and The Ginger is Indiana Jones (Hubby's DNA right there). I'm sure I will post pictures over at Inklings' facebook page, so be sure to check there! And yes, I'm one of those moms who dresses up to take her kids trick-or-treating. I absolutely love this shit.

In all of my planning, buying, coordinating and basking in the Halloween glow, I have come across a few things that all moms and dads should keep in their minds this evening.

1. Start drilling into your kids' heads which candy YOU like the best, so they know what to pick out of those "Take 1 Only" bowls. This list should have gone out sooner, I do apologize, so you could have been spending the last few weeks repeating, "Reese's, Snickers, Twix and Kit Kats" to them in their sleep. If you haven't thought ahead to do that, just randomly insert it into conversation once they get home from school today. This way, you have a bowl full of good stuff to choose from when you ask your kids nicely for a piece of candy your kids go to sleep at night.

2. Remind your kids that you are going to have to "check their candy for razor blades and/or drugs" when they get home, before they eat anything. Remember to explain that you are removing "questionable" pieces, that you will go ahead and eat, to protect your kids. If you don't want to go the razor blades and/or drugs route, then remind your kids there is a "Candy Tax" for you taking them trick-or-treating.

3. Buy an extra bag of candy that you will hide from your kids until after Halloween. This way, you
have bargaining chips. If your kids are older, like mine, they'll be stingy with their candy. So, if you pull out a brand new Reese's Peanut Butter Cup from your secret stash, more than likely a kid will want to trade you something good out of thier basket for your cup of goodness.

4. Emphasize before you leave the house to go trick-or-treating that if the kid can't carry a certain part of their costume, they need not bring it. Nothing sucks more than carrying your kids' candy bags, their cloak, their mask or wig, their bag of fairy dust, their magical tool belt full of potions, and their staff of power for 6 blocks because they realized after house #3 that it was a bit too much for them.

5. Teach your kids that time = reward. Kids nowadays are instant gratification people. They'll hit 4 houses, see 10 pieces of candy in their bag and want to cash in right there so they can go home and eat everything. Explain to them how many pieces they'll have after 4 more houses, then 4 more after that. If all else fails, tell them how, back in our day, we trick-or-treated in snow, uphill both ways, to get a full bag of candy to take home. None of this 'covers the bottom of the bag in a thin layer' shit is going to suffice.
  • 5a. Time it took to perfect costume = at least half of the total trick-or-treating time. If we spent 2 hours making sure every strand of hair and smudge of makeup is perfect on our kids' costumes, we don't want to hear after 15 minutes of trick-or-treating that they are tired and want to go home. 2 hours of costume time equals at least 1 hour of trick-or-treat time. And this isn't total time for all kids' costumes- this is per child. I'd hate to have a family with 6 kids, who took almost 4 hours to get everyone situated, trying to stay out for 2 hours. If you can, more power to you. Otherwise, take the largest amount of time spent on one costume and factor the trick-or-treat time by that.
6. When preparing for trick-or-treaters at your house, be sure you have a game plan for the following scenarios:
Courtesy of Michiana
  1. The No Costume Treater. These are usually teenage kids who are too lazy to even bother to dress up, and are just trying to score free candy. I had a mom argue with me one time that costumes can be expensive, but I had a friend poke 3 holes in a trash bag one year (head and 2 arms) and go as "White Trash." So, costumes can be whatever you want. Wear a pot on your head and call yourself a robot. That's a costume. I suggest handling the No Costume Treaters by having a special bowl set aside for them that's full of pieces of paper with "Halloween Tip- If you want candy, you'll dress up next year" written on them. Or, you can give them candy just like all of the kids who are actually excited and have prepared for this great holiday. It's your choice.
  2. The 20-Year-Old Treater. Most areas have age guidelines for trick-or-treaters, ranging from 2-12 or so. You'll get the treater with the full natural beard whose carrying around a six pack of beer that they legally purchased ,trying to get candy from you. My advice is to tell them to go to Walgreens the day after Halloween and purchase a bag of candy for half price like the rest of us adults.
  3. The 6-Month-Old Treater. I recently got into a very heated debate online with a group of moms who stated that they were taking their 6-10 month olds trick-or-treating for the "experience" of their first Halloween. To a child this young, there is no "experience". Dress a child that young in a costume? Sure, it's cute as hell. Take a child that young out in the neighborhood to show off the costume? Hell yes, seeing a tiny cute ladybug or furry lion brings a smile to everyone's faces. Have the 20 or 30-something year old mom walk the stroller up to the door, knock, say "Trick-or-Treat" and expect candy? WTF? That's not a kid trick-or-treating, that falls under the 20-Year-Old Treater above. If your child is that young, have respect for the age-appropriate kids and don't take your little one through the actual trick-or-treating process. Every piece of candy that you get from a house, that your 6 month old can't eat anyway, is a piece of candy you essentially stole from a 4 year old who will appreciate the experience. Wait until the next day and then buy all of the candy you want to eat at half price.
  4. The 'Hey, Wait, Didn't You Just Hit This House' Treater. I usually let those slide, but come on. The dollar store has masks now. How hard would it be to just walk around the corner, switch masks, and return as a scary werewolf when we all know you just hit the house as a zombie.
  5. The "Wow, That's Crappy Candy" Treater. Take that shit right back out of their bag. If they can't have respect for the fact that you decided to partake in Halloween, no matter how tight your budget, then they don't deserve the "ChocoPumpkin" you got from the dollar store. 
  6. The "Is Your Candy Free of Red Dye #4, Peanuts, Gluten, Sugar, and Made in a Fair Trade Country?" Mom that Comes with a Treater. Seriously? Why even bother taking your kids to a regular neighborhood to partake in regular trick-or-treating if you don't allow your kids to even eat regular candy? Best answer ever: "Nope, sorry, all we have is chocolate covered, peanut filled, gluten abundant dyed candy that was packaged by a 5 year old who got paid $0.10 a day to work. Try over at ________ (insert address of your worst enemy here)."
By keeping all of these things in mind, I'm sure you'll have a very fun (and profitable) trick-or-treating Halloween experience for both you and your kids!

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  1. I get annoyed by the older "kids" trick-or-treating. We live in FL so it's hot enough for the girls to wear every variation of "slutty" costumes, which means their naughty bits are right at my kids' eye-level. And the older boys are rude and violent. All of them are loud and obnoxious. Maybe I'll feel differently when I actually have a teenager. I doubt it, though.

    1. I know I won't feel differently. I can't stand seeing young girls in slutty costumes. I guess I can say at least they dress up? The No Costume Treaters are 99% of the time boys, who yes, get pissy with you when you ask where their costume is. Then I have to worry about the little shits toilet papering or egging my house, lol.