HUMOR – Halloween is fast approaching. When I was a child I loved Halloween. Dressing up made me feel like a princess or an acrobat or a gory corpse or whatever I chose to dress up as in any given year. That is the power of wearing a costume with a hooded sweatshirt on top of it.
As an adult, I have mixed feelings about Halloween. Here is why: I love free candy. But I also have children who love to eat Laffy Taffys and Starbursts and Skittles and all manner of multi-colored high-fructose corn syrup concoctions until they get sick with amazing Technicolor sickness all over my carpet.
Like their mother before them, my children have no off switch when it comes to sweets. As the responsible adult of our household, this puts me in an awkward position. What do I do with the pillowcases full of candy that I am suddenly inundated with on Halloween night?
I have asked my friends what they do with their kids’ Halloween loot, and I have discovered that when it comes to dealing with Halloween candy there are four types of parents:
Type 1 parents – sweeties
The first type of parents is those who allow their children free reign over their Halloween candy. This is how my parents raised me and let me tell you how it went down: By Nov. 2 the candy was long gone and I was experiencing varying degrees of illness from faint queasiness to violent nausea brought on by the sugar overload. By Nov. 3 I had sworn off candy for the rest of my life. By Nov. 4, I was begging my parents for money so that I could walk to Dutchman’s convenience store to buy a box of Nerds. This parenting style is not for everyone, but it worked for my parents. They were not plagued with Halloween candy for months after the event and as yet none of my siblings have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 parents – re-treaters
Another type of parents is those who ration their children’s Halloween candy so that it lasts until the following Halloween. They then distribute last year’s candy to this year’s trick-or-treaters, making them the dorkiest type of parent by a long shot. This also explains the mysteriously stale Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that turn up every year. I have never met any parents who actually do this, but how else would a perfectly good peanut butter cup go stale? This is the only explanation that makes sense.
Type 3 parents – smarties
Another type of parents that has recently sprung up is those who take advantage of cash-for-candy programs offered by some pediatric dental offices. In years past, Children’s Dental of St. George has offered money in exchange for Halloween candy. They then box up the hundreds of pounds of Tootsie Rolls and Smarties and what-have-you and send it out to the missionaries and troops who are in desperate need of a sugar buzz. From what I understand, Children’s Dental has also matched the amount of money they have given in exchange for candy with donations to charities like Dixie Care and Share and Feed the Planet. So not only are your children less likely to develop cavities, they are also helping people out. I think these parents are raising the leaders of tomorrow – them, and the parents whose kids are going to go to Harvard.
Type 4 parents – martyrs
I am not one of those parents because I am too busy being parent type number four. We are the sacrificial type. We save our children from the sugar-glut suffered by children of Type 1 parents – we eat their candy while they sleep. We spare our children the humiliation that the children of Type 2 parents suffer – we eat their candy and will never be re-treaters, never can a stale peanut butter cup in our house be found. We give to our own first, unlike Type 3 parents – our cash-for-candy program looks something like this: “Here’s $1 Johnny, be a sweetheart, ride to Dutchman’s and get mommy a Chocodile, will you?”
Perhaps we take our cue from pagans of origin in the holiday itself, we sacrifice – once a year – with a mask on.
Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.
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