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All Hallow’s… Afternoon?

Happy Halloween, friends! We don’t do a lot for Halloween. We aren’t really partiers and we don’t have kids to take out in search of candy. As has become the custom in our house, we probably will have a pretty quiet evening watching a spooky movie and handing out candy to trick or treaters. We don’t usually dress up ourselves and our decorations are pretty sparse, but I still enjoy the day.

I try to give out “good candy.” I don’t go wild, or anything. We get a pretty good turnout and full-size candy bars would quickly become expensive. I make sure to get a mix of chocolate and non-chocolate and I’m not a stickler about “one piece of candy!” I make efforts to not have any candy left by the end of the night, but I buy candy that I would eat as a rule of thumb (and just in case).

Therein lies the trouble, though. I bought a couple of mixed bags of candy last week, waiting until my last grocery run before the big day. Even so, I kept them hidden, stuffed in the corner behind my mixer on the kitchen counter, to try and reduce the temptation to eat all the candy before Halloween even arrived. It wasn’t a great hiding spot. It was a lot like an elephant hiding behind a telephone pole, but it did the trick, and we did really well. I didn’t even open the bags, because opening the bags would make it that much easier to say, “Sure, I can just have one. And one more wouldn’t hurt. Just another.” Until suddenly I’m passed out on the kitchen floor with chocolate all over my face. Oops.

But today is Halloween, and Kalen worked from home this morning, so after we had lunch, I decided it was finally acceptable to get out the big Halloween bowl (AKA the potluck pasta salad bowl, AKA the where-can-I-store-all-these-muffins bowl) and open the bags of candy so that we could each have one little piece for dessert. We carefully picked out our candy and sat down to finish watching SNL and Pippin started to bark.

The doorbell rang.

The Halloween candy had not been open for ten minutes. It was 12:40 in the afternoon. Three middle schoolers stood on our porch and sheepishly asked if we had any candy.

I want to clarify, I’m not a stickler. I can be pretty grouchy and mean about a lot of things, but Halloween is not one of those things. I don’t get upset if trick or treaters can’t bring themselves to say “Trick or Treat!” I don’t withhold candy from kids I think are “too old.” I don’t judge if a kid’s costume is not great. Basically, if you come to my porch on Halloween night and I still have candy, you get candy.

This, however, was not Halloween night. It was Halloween noon.

Kalen, compassionate soul that he is, said, “Hang on, I’ll check…” I laughed and stepped into the bright autumn sunshine and said, “You all aren’t even dressed up!” I almost gave in for their quick reactions as they pointed to their school t-shirts and said, “Uh, we’re middle schoolers!” because, no lie, middle school was pretty scary. I laughed and told them to come back after five tonight, that I’d give them candy then. They didn’t fight with me. I don’t think they expected to get candy. I think they had just dared one another to see what would happen if they rang doorbells this early. I don’t know how many other houses they had tried as they walked home from what I can only assume was an early release day at school. And honestly, if they’d been in costume, I would have given them candy this early in the day. And if they hadn’t been in costume but it had been evening they would have left with sweets.

I got a good laugh out of their boldness. I hope they do come back this evening and I can make good on my promise to give them candy. I hope they don’t egg or teepee our house, but I don’t think they will. Even though Halloween has a reputation for mischief and trouble, for the last several years, I have actually found a lot of hope on this night. I wish that everyone who complains about “young people today!” could see the trick or treaters that come to my door. Ninety percent of them say “Thank you!” and wish us a good evening. No one has ever complained about the candy options. Older siblings often make sure their much younger siblings pick out candy they like and that it gets safely into their bag or bucket before helping them back down the porch steps.

I’m looking forward to handing out candy this evening. Or this afternoon. Or next Tuesday, I guess.

Happy Halloween!

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