When I was nine or ten years old, my younger cousin and I went out trick-or-treating together. I was always a little bigger growing up and looked much older when compared with my petite cousin who was already three years my junior. Add some Halloween makeup, and I might have passed for a teenager.
It was cold and rainy most of our Halloweens, and I liked the concept of free candy. So I would push Rachel to keep going, despite freezing in our costumes and occasionally being soaking wet Halloween rats.
“But Rachel,” I would tell her, “They feel sorry for us! Look how much candy each house gives us!”
Bowl after bowl of Halloween candy got dumped into our bags, until one house.
I will never forget the older woman who looked at me with a scathing grimace. Her words were jarring to a little girl, and I’m sure they were part of the reason I hated my growing body so much.
“No, Mom. I only give candy to kids, and I already gave your daughter candy.”
Yes, she called me, a ten-year-old child, “Mom.” Yes, she believed I was my cousin’s mom. And yes she was wrong on so many levels, I can’t even count them all.
This woman lived across the street from me, but never noticed us playing in the yard. Or the street (kickball, anyone?). Or in other people’s yards. And she refused to give me candy, thinking I was my cousin’s mother.
Now that Brian and I are adults with a house of our own, we don’t care who comes to our door. We don’t care whether they have costumes or look like parents. We don’t care what their treat bag looks like (did you know a pillowcase is one of the most sustainable options?). If they ask, they get candy.
Last year we started a tradition of handing out full-size candy bars. And that tradition will continue. Because Halloween is supposed to be fun for everyone. So I recommend doing what you can to make Halloween special for everyone. Because the world is crazy and people are fighting over who deserves basic human rights, let’s stop worrying about who gets candy on Halloween. And if you don’t want to be nice to everyone, might I recommend putting out a no candy sign?
These days, Brian is responsible for candy duty, because I still take the kids trick-or-treating. I tell Rachel’s children the story of rain and cold, as I push them to trudge along and procure more candy. “In our day, we counted how many pieces of candy we received!” And now my niece, who is very much like me in many regards, will likely count her candy and maybe even swim in it once we return to my aunt’s house.
“The Auntie Chrissy tax is Almond Joy,” I’ll also remind them. Because Auntie Chrissy wants candy too.
What do you do for Halloween? Trick-or-treating or candy duty or neither? Let me know!