Happy Fall Festival Day! Or perhaps you know it by Autumn
Celebration? I hear Harvest Day is big now, too.
The-Holiday-Formerly-Known-as-Halloween knows many names. Yet no
matter what the PC-crowd or the Chicago Public School system does
to twist and maim Oct. 31, I will always hold true to its sacred
values and founding principles:
CANDY! LOTS OF CANDY! GIMMEE CANDY!!
I am a Halloween purist. I am also mentally about 7 years old.
But I believe there is no shame in going out once a year (subject
to allergies, diabetes, and dietary restrictions), and eating
nothing but Kit Kats and Gummy Bears. I raid my kids' bags
unabashedly. I hoard all the Almond Joys for myself. And by
mid-November, I am typically about 3-5 pounds heavier.
But isn't this what makes America great?
Sending children out into the world to beg for Butterfingers and
Tootsie Rolls is practically genius. It's the best example I've
seen on how to circumvent those pesky child labor laws. You run
those little legs as fast as they can go, from house to house,
block to block for hours. The kids think they're doing it for
themselves. Ha! Those suckers won't even see 10 percent of the
final haul. Not with me as their mom.
It did take a few years to perfect my system. After moving away
from the downtown area in 2006, I was excited to grab the
double-stroller and load it up with my newly minted
Trick-or-Treaters. My husband seemed equally enthusiastic, and I
figured I had definitely married my equal in terms of unadulterated
devotion to candy procurement.
I was quickly proven wrong.
Joe, a native southsider, viewed Halloween as a leisurely stroll
around a couple of city blocks to chat with neighbors, friends, and
family while showing off our adorably-costumed toddlers. There was
no sense of urgency. After almost two hours, we had only hit four
houses and my sons had devoured all eight pieces of candy. This was
not going as planned.
As my irritability grew due to low blood sugar (I hadn't eaten
in anticipation of all those Snickers), I tried to feign a certain
level of maturity:
"Hey honey," I interrupted as Joe chit-chatted with close
relative #52, "I'm just going to walk the boys around the block
real quick. I'll meet you back here in 10, OK?"
Joe barely looked up from his conversation about Mt. Carmel
football and chili recipes. Waving casually as I turned the corner,
I immediately accelerated my pace, pushing that old double-stroller
like a woman possessed. As we were now into the third full hour of
trick-or-treating, several homeowners took pity on my boys and
their nearly-empty plastic pumpkins:
"Oh you sweet things, why don't you take two?"
"My, my. You guys certainly haven't gotten a lot of candy yet.
Let me help you out!"
As each resident began giving my kids entire handfuls of candy,
I noticed their pumpkins were looking less pathetic. That's when I
implemented my patented technique of "Dump & Dupe." That's
right. I dumped their full buckets into the stroller basket and
started them each anew with pitifully empty pumpkins.
And yes, I am quite aware that I will be spending much of the
hereafter in purgatory.
By the time I met up with my husband a half hour later, he
couldn't believe the amount of candy we had collected. I smiled,
satisfied with my progress.
Just then, one of his cousins appeared hauling a wagon with two
small children. The kids stuck out their plastic pumpkins and cried
"Twick or Tweet!"
Joe peered into their empty pumpkins, noticed our hidden
stroller stash, and then stuffed their pumpkins to the gills. I
once again struggled to maintain a proper grown-up persona. Yet by
the time we finally walked away, I was irate:
"What were you DOING? You gave them half of MY… er…THE BOYS'…
"Did you see what you had in there?" Joe asked. "It was almost
entirely Almond Joys. Coconut is gross. But don't worry. I was
careful not to give them any Peanut Butter Cups. Those things are
"You know, Joe," I fumed, stomping off, "It's about time you
realize that Halloween isn't just about YOU anymore."
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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