My kids are eating all of their Halloween candy right now.
Don't worry - it's not like that.
I'll tell you how shit goes down around here for Halloween in a minute. But first, I need to give you a little bit of history.
I hate Halloween. I've always hated Halloween. Now that I have kids who get amped about getting dressed up, I'd probably demote the word "hate" to "indifferent" - I'm indifferent about Halloween.
I'm not the mother who even considers making costumes. Until this year, I instructed my kids to go up to the dress-up bin and pick something out twenty minutes before it was time to head out onto the streets to mine for treats. They were completely fine with this arrangement. This year though, at six and four years old, the jig was up; they had opinions - they had costume needs. And so the Amazon Prime Angels delivered Elsa and an Astronaut to our door (though, it should be noted, NOT ON THE SAME DAY which created very, very big feelings for the kid who needed to wait a day. THANKS A LOT, Amazon.)
Growing up, I think I was a punk every year - I don't remember ever wanting to be anything else. What I do remember is getting all gussied up, looking in the mirror, and deciding that I looked absolutely absurd, and being certain that every person who saw me like that would laugh in my face. And so I usually bailed on trick-or-treating completely. (Yes - my issues are old and run deep. I'm working on it.) Here's a little eye candy for you, just so you can get the full effect:
Don't I look thrilled? Eager? Needless to say, I get way more excited about Thanksgiving (Pie! Gravy! ALL THE FOODS!) than I do about Halloween.
But having kids forces you out of your own story and into their largely innocent, joy-filled stories, and so I've hopped aboard the Halloween train. By "hopped aboard the Halloween train" I simply mean that I happily go trick-or-treating with them. I still refuse to dress in costumes (this includes "theme dressing" - I avoid green and red on Christmas, and am unwilling to don pink or red on Valentine's Day. I've decided this is okay if for no other reason than I want to maintain a certain level of rebelliousness at all times.)
As we all know, however, trick-or-treating produces a Candy Situation. My kids aren't strangers to treats, but the onslaught of Kid Crack was overwhelming to me the first year we went out collecting loot.
So somehow, in a moment of divine grace, I thought up The Great Switcheroo. It works like this: the kids can eat candy as they trick-or-treat. It seems ridiculous - because I have inordinately strong-willed offspring (SHOCKING, right?) - to try and manage that. So they gather candy, eat some of it, and squeal like little balls of happy as we frolic down the sidewalks. The next morning, they dump their candy out and pick five pieces that they want to keep. They are in charge of those five pieces, and get to decide when they eat them. Which means immediately, obviously. The rest of the candy gets stashed away for Tim and I to scour through late at night while watching The Blacklist or Transparent - again, obviously. In exchange for their candy, each kid gets a dollar - ONE WHOLE DOLLAR - to spend at the dollar store. They think this arrangement is INCREDIBLE. Their very own dollar! To buy ANYTHING THEY WANT! We go to the dollar store where everything actually costs a dollar, which means they have roughly 33,000 items from which to choose. We go the day after Halloween, and I usually carve out at least an hour - it's very hard to decide how to spend a dollar when you're small-ish. I swear to God, they get as excited about The Great Switcheroo as they do about trick-or-treating.
Now that I've told you my clever secrets, I'm going to go get dressed and load my sugared-up kids into the car, a dollar in each of their hands.
Happy Switcheroo Day!