This is the first year that both of my kids truly understand the spirit of Halloween. You dress up, you get candy. The end. It is a simple holiday, but second only to Christmas in fun. This being my fifth year of actively engaging in the holiday, I have learned some very simple lessons that I will share with you about children, costumes, and candy.
1. Never, ever put your child in a sports-themed costume unless that team is winning. For example, this would not be the year to send them around in Phillies gear. I learned this lesson the hard way when I took my then almost two-year old out and about in an Eagle’s cheerleading costume during a losing streak. She was inexhaustible and spent three full hours trick or treating. She was also very, very confused as to why some adults kept pulling the candy bowl away, yelling rude things at her, and making her work twice as hard for her treat as the next kid. You wouldn’t think she looked anything like Andy Reid, but yet, she kept getting treated like him. Never again.
2. Let them pick what they like out of the candy bowl. That same year, my daughter decided that lollipops were her candy of choice. Bowl after chocolate filled bowl, she went for the suckers and even requested a special bag just for carrying her lollipops. With visions of dental bills dancing in my head, I kept trying to steer her away from sugar on a stick. She kept going back for more. We came home with enough DumDums and Blowpops for several raves. She never ate one. Turns out, she had no actual interest in them as candy and just liked how they fit in her hand.
3. Plan ahead. This year, my daughter is Jessie from Toy Story. She gave her brother the choice of being either Buzz or Woody. (She always picks for him. Last year, she was Princess Leia to his Ewok. Another year, she was Dorothy and he was the Cowardly Lion.) He chose Buzz. I bought both (and by bought, I mean, I got both Buzz and Woody pajamas, which are the actual basis of his costume). And wouldn’t you know, turns out he is afraid of the inflatable wings I bought for Buzz. Ten dollars in foresight saved me a fortune in agida.
4. If the kids needs a weapon to make the costume complete, choose a different costume. At a Halloween event this past weekend, I saw a kid dressed as a gangster, complete with prop Tommy gun. Does he watch a lot of The Sopranos on Saturday mornings? I also saw a kid dressed in full Viking gear, complete with anvil. Indy with his whip and Obi-Wan with his light saber is one thing, but an anvil? Why don’t you just give him a mace and call it a day. Surely kids totally hopped up on sugar and excitement will remember to always play nice with their medieval weaponry.
5. Donate your candy. My children are like Ferengi on their quest for candy, but unlike gold-pressed latinum, candy, once gathered, accrues nothing but dust. They gather untold pounds of it but really can only eat a few ounces without getting heartily sick. Sure, those first few days of picking through and eating all the good stuff (which in our house are any Reese’s products and the 100,000 Grand bars) is fun for me and my husband, but my kids lose interest the moment we finish the first sort. So every year, I find a place that sends the candy oversees to our military troops. Just make sure you don’t pick out all the good stuff. No one wants to receive a box of Tootsie Rolls.