Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween: My Way

We've already started celebrating Halloween around here.

We're lucky in that a neighborhood somewhat near us had twenty houses participate in a casein free gluten free trick or treating experience. We were invited due to Little Miss's allergy, and it was a blast. Mister Man got to see a friend of his from preschool who he hasn't seen in too long. It was pretty cold, but they made it through with smiles on their faces.

Starting tomorrow though, we go by my rules for Halloween.

My Top Ten Rules for Halloween:

Rule #1: We go potty before we leave the house. I'm not begging to use a random neighbor's bathroom this year. So skeevy and gross last year.

Rule #2: I carry the candy backpack while the wee ones carry their small trick or treat sacks. After every third or fourth house, the small sacks are emptied into my backpack. It keeps my hands free and prevents whining from the wee ones that their bags are too heavy or that they spilled all over.

Rule #3: The wee ones walk on sidewalks and driveways and don't run across yards. First, I want them to respect other people's property. Second, it's been raining way too much lately, and I'd prefer to avoid the mud and muck on their shoes and God only knows what else.

Rule #4: If they want to trick or treat, they do it properly. The ring the doorbell, then step back. They must say trick or treat. No grabbing allowed. After candy has been received, they must wish the homeowner Happy Halloween and say thank you. Again, it's probably more strict than most parents, but it's what I model for them, and it's the level of propriety I expect. And they know it. And while they need small reminders as we go along, they pretty much know what they need to do.

Rule #5: No running ahead. Our neighborhood is a magnet for ... nonresidents. Our streets are lined on both sides, filled with cars during the trick or treat hours. There are people and cars everywhere. While we have sidewalks, it's still not the easiest thing to keep track of everyone, and I refuse to risk it. And I'll go back to the polite thing. Mister Man's social aptitude has increased hugely, but norms aren't easy for him. Having the rules and understanding why they're there help him grow his social skills, too.

Rule #6: You don't refuse what's offered. I have to admit that Mister Man did this at one house tonight. He was polite and said no thank you -- then added that he didn't like it. It's trick or treating. People don't care if you like what they're handing out, and it hurts feelings when you refuse what they offer. Again, this is a bigger social lesson than trick or treating that I'm trying to impart.

Rule #7: Mommy has her own treat. In my neighborhood, the adults carry cups. At various stops, people will offer to refill what you're drinking. Some have wine, some have beer, and some have Jell-O shots. And really, what other reason than this do you need to be happy living in my neighborhood?

Rule #8: Trick or treated candy is used to supplement our candy bowl. Last year, we had 462 trick or treaters (my husband graphed it in half hour increments). The vast majority of these people don't live in our neighborhood. I can't afford to buy candy for 462 people. Little Miss can't eat dairy. Neither of the wee ones ingests corn syrup anymore (whenever I have control over what they're eating). That knocks out much of the candy they collect. We sort through it when we get home and take out the "icky" candy and place it in our candy bowl to recycle for the trick or treaters who have yet to come to our home.

Rule #9: The wee ones choose as much candy as they are old. We don't eat a lot of candy and sweets. And they don't miss it. They love collecting it, but after that it just sits there. We now have them choose the number of pieces that matches their age. That's what they get to keep and eat over the next week or so, and then we're done with the candy.

Which brings me to the most important rule:

Rule #10: Whatever candy is leftover gets donated. There are so many people who have so little for various reasons. And so many people who are so grateful for just some little thing. This year, Mister Man's school is collecting leftover candy to send to a second grader's uncle in Iraq. He then plans to share it with his entire unit. And you know what? We'll be contributing a pretty decent share to that shipment. I have a feeling we'll all feel pretty good about that.

So what are your rules for Halloween?


Melisa Wells October 30, 2009 at 9:59 PM  

Great rules!

We don't have lots of rules these days (for Halloween) since the older one works now (and is working tomorrow) and the younger one will be mostly hanging out w/ friends.

One rule though: if, as a teen, you're going trick or treating, you have to wear a costume and use all the same manners that little kids do. :)

Unknown October 30, 2009 at 10:43 PM  

I am totally going to try the candy backpack. Brilliant!

Unknown October 30, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

Wow will you come trick or treat us? Better yet w/beer flowing I'll be moving in!

Unknown October 30, 2009 at 11:39 PM  

Since the Son is 20 and off to the U for his Halloween party, my rules are simple:

1) No Trick or Treaters before 4pm
2) No Trick or Treaters after 7:30pm
3) If the candy supply is exceeded, the lights go off.

and last but not least

4) Anything leftover is subject to my sweet tooth if it looks good enough. Thus the Reese's Cups and the Snickers are going last.

P.S. The Seven and Seven in my cup is all mine, but the wine is all yours.

WeaselMomma October 31, 2009 at 6:32 AM  

Okay, I see how Halloween works at your house. The kids get to eat a handful of tofu balls (over a week) and Mommy gets to booze it up. Sounds like a trick to me! =)

Tara R. October 31, 2009 at 6:54 AM  

These are great rules. I love the idea of a candy backpack and the parent cups.

Our Boy is too old to ToT, the Girl is at college. We turn off the porch light and hope the dogs barking don't give us away. But I don't have all the candy taunting me either.

Panamamama October 31, 2009 at 10:19 AM  

Great! I have a box with "trading candy" for my allergy kids. They have to come home and trade me the things they can't have when I sort their candy.

KatBouska October 31, 2009 at 11:06 AM  

I'm laminating this list of rules! Perfection.

Mary~Momathon October 31, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

We have most of the same rules.

If their bags of candy are too heavy to carry, we come home. Obviously, that's enough!

One that we do: Any trick or treaters that are bigger than me and unaccompanied by little trick or treaters get a potato. After 9pm, they get an onion. They just love the heavy thump in their deep pillowcase. I also take their picture, just so I know who TP'd my tree when they find the onion.

Pat October 31, 2009 at 2:33 PM  

Great rules and great use of candy overage! I know the soldiers will be delighted.

Teacher Tom October 31, 2009 at 3:31 PM  

I'm with WeaselMomma . . . I've never heard of gluten-free beer. =)

Hyacynth October 31, 2009 at 9:13 PM  

I am printing this rule list and referencing it every year until they leave for college. Brillant, Michelle! I can't even tell you which ones I like best because they all rock.
Also, I want to trick or treat in your neighborhood if the adults get adult treats. All I got was a Reeses' cup.

The (Un)Experienced Mom November 1, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

Those are great rules and I agree with all of them, especially the walking on the grass (b/c you don't know what's in there) and the moms getting a treat. That's a great idea! I also think that it's proper Halloween etiquette to only take one piece of candy when someone leaves it outside of their house b/c they aren't home. Most kids take all that is there!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Emmy November 1, 2009 at 4:15 PM  

Seriously great rules. And thank you for teaching your kids some manners. I was amazed at how many kids just rang the doorbell and didn't even say trick or treat!
Thanks for comments on my blog today.

Mrs4444 November 1, 2009 at 6:03 PM  

I love your rules. For a second there, though, I thought the donation was set aside for Mommy!!

I handed candy out at my mom's yesterday. One teenager held his pillowcase in such a way that he examined the offering before letting it slide into the bottom; kind of scary. Good thing I gave him a Snickers, in stead of the teeny, tiny Tootsie rolls Mom was handing out.

I can't email from this computer, or I'd ask you a ? ELF is what Mr.4444 was for our Halloween party last year. He also wore the costume to hand out candy, just for fun.

hippiechick November 1, 2009 at 11:31 PM  

I love the adult treats and the picture of the cool car and awesome house in your neighborhood.

Angela November 2, 2009 at 12:06 PM  

I love "Michelle's rules!" I think you are a fantastic mom and you use every chance you get to teach the wee ones great lessons. Great job!

And may I say, I would love your neighbors and the beverage refills? LOL I LOVE this idea. No one ever really does this in our n'hood or at least I have not seen it. But what we do is have a block party every two or three streets and the adults congregate there. Kids go around in huge groups or with parents, so parents can grab drinks as they're going by the party. I do love the atmosphere in our n'hood.

And your hubby cracks me UP! Did he really graph the visitors? I don't think we get anything close to 300 or 400 kids, but our houses are spaced a bit apart and our n'hood is very hilly, so I think kids don't go for more than maybe 10 houses each. And then the adults take bowls of candy to the block party, so the kids grab it there.

Michelle March 29, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

Melisa - True... I'll be there someday and miss the good old days! And the teen trick or treaters? Still undecided, but that may be verboten.

Lolli - Oh it works to perfection. I LOVE it. It's my Great Mom Moment.

Laura - Hey, c'mon over - everyone else does!

Dan - I wish we could have those rules, but ... turning off our lights early is risky. *sigh*

WeaselMomma - Eww, tofu? C'mon, even I'd never make the wee ones do that!

Tara - Eh, dogs bark. That doesn't mean people are home. So do you tell ghost stories in the dark, too?

panamamama - The trading box might be a good idea for next year if they don't have the GFCF trick or treating. Mister Man does miss some of the candy that everyone else eats.

Mama Kat - Aww, you're too sweet. Although I want the laminator. Those things fascinate me.

Mary - Yeah, the getting too heavy to carry is a good general rule, although more than six pieces of candy is sometimes our limit for carrying, so ... we keep going :)

Pat - Oh, so do I. the final total was 221 pounds of candy shipped. Can you imagine?

Tom - Uhhhh no. As much as they've ruined beer with all the weird things they're doing to it already, I think GF beer would be the final straw.

Hyacynth - Awww, you're so kind. And hey, again everyone is welcome in my neighborhood - stop on by ;)

Tamara - Uhhh yeah. I wasn't even thinking about what was IN the grass. Yikes.

Emmy - There are lots of people who don't say anything, but like I always tell the wee ones, "I don't care what other people do. I only care about you, and you should, too!"

Mrs4444 - Nope, no donation set aside for me (other than the three Snickers I took and the Twix). For whatever reason, I don't really like candy.

Katie - Yeah that car was pretty sweet. The scary thing is that knowing where they probably came from, that's probably a car they drive regularly. SO far from my life.

Angela - The block party idea is a good one, too. And yes, he truly graphs the visitors. And compares it YOY. Yep, that's who I chose to marry ;)

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