Yes, I know it’s only mid-September but the bags of candy corn (c’mon, who really eats candied kernels of fake vegetables when they could be popping peanut M&M’s?) are already on the shelves of my local Stop & Shop. Out here in the child-centric suburbs, a parent’s mind turns to Halloween right after the homework-free honeymoon ends (i.e. day two of school).
I admit right now that I have very conflicted feelings about this holiday. I like the whole idea of it (fun, kids, junk food, and costumes). It’s just the actual experience (all that forced fun, all those cranky kids coming down from sugar highs, all that tempting junk food just-for-the-taking, and all those tacky tyrannosaurus rex costumes) that I could do without.
Then again, maybe my feelings stem from the fact that during my less-than-illustrious career as head of our Halloween household, I have actually:
1. Had to replenish our stash of Snickers and Three Musketeers on the morning of the big day – because someone (hint: she's WAY too old to collect her candy the legitimate way) got carried away taste-testing the treats her never-gains-an-ounce chocoholic husband insisted on purchasing three weeks earlier.
2. Resorted to buying Trident and little boxes of raisins in order not to tempt you-know-who.
3. Smooshed up the icing on Hostess cupcakes the better to pass them off as home-baked for a classroom party.
4. Spent way too much on a piece of polyester that purported to be the latest popular cartoon character only to have it rip right after being put on.
5. Created original costumes for my kids (hey, my daughter insisted on being a horse one year, not a popular commercial costume choice) that drew blank stares and “What's that supposed to be?” queries from their more sensibly polyestered peers.
Then again, at least I haven’t resorted to giving out nutritionally-friendly stickers and coloring books, or shutting off the front porch lights to pretend no one was home. Yet.