Candy is dandy, but fifth gear comes from fear

Carved PumpkinDon’t knock on my door this Halloween. Don’t ring the bell, or peek inside. I am planning to decamp.

I am running away because I am scared of all the children who are going to land on my doorstep, shouting “Trick or Treat” in their squeaky little voices.

Pic courtesy Freefoto

Come Halloween, my front porch will be besieged with adorable, gap-toothed little children. But while I find them adorable and cute on other days, on Halloween evening, I am terrified of them.  They will be dressed as zombies, skeletons and pirates (or as Sarah Palins), but it’s not their costumes that will scare me.  No, I am scared of their antics.

I am not scared of every child. There are lots of perfectly behaved children who will arrive to trick me, and leave happily bribed with the Mars and Snickers and Butterfingers and other bars that I, like everyone else, will hand out. But there are other children who will leave me shaken.

These come in various shapes and sizes – from gap-toothed four year olds to defiant thirteen year olds, boys and girls, princesses and pirates.

Who are these children? Well, they come in five main types.

The Size-ists: These children only like large sized bars, and by large I mean 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. They will look distastefully at your bowl of 2+ inch sized bars and tuck their basket away. You will notice said basket is empty except for a few 6 inch bars.

The Brand Nazis: These children only like specific brands. “I don’t like Mars”, they’ll say, wrinkling their noses in disgust. “Don’t you have something else?” The child beside him will say “I hate Snickers, it’s disgusting”, and you find yourself picking out Butterfingers and Hersheys and getting their approval for each candy bar.

The Allergic-to-everything: These children will sweetly ask you to give them only bars that don’t have nuts. “I am allergic to peanuts”, they will say. Or “I am allergic to milk”. “Do you know which brand will agree with you?” you ask them. “I don’t know, you pick something without peanuts”, they’ll say grandly. You will find yourself standing on your porch and peering at candy wrappers in sudden panic, while a dozen kids clamor outside and more arrive every minute.

The Oliver Twists: These children are never satisfied. If you let them help themselves from the bowl, they will take multiple fistfuls. If you hand out candy, they will ask for two or three helpings. It’s hard to say no to a child. But as the last stragglers come in, you find that you are down to your last candy bar or two. It’s harder to find an empty candy bowl when the evening is still young.

The Alien encounterers: These children will pause and study your brown skin. “You speak funny”, they will say. They will grab the candy you hand them and flee.  Or hesitate to approach the bowl.  You wonder why those scary skeletons and ghouls are frightened of you – after all, you are just dressed as a human 🙂

Each year, I find myself desperately searching for the parents.  But this is a safe neighborhood, so the parents presumably are off to party.  The odd ones who come stand across the road and watch from a safe distance, or stand silently beside the group of children without a word of greeting or introduction.  You wonder which child’s parent this is – if it is the misbehaving child’s, perhaps it is easier to remain silent and disown all responsibility? 😉

But the kids leave me running scared.  So this Halloween, you will find a bright light on my porch and a large bowl filled with more than a hundred candy bars on my doorstep. But you won’t find me.

Happy Halloween!

P.S. If you notice, the title is from Ogden Nash’s   “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker”.

I have summed up my Halloween experience in verse in the title – “Candy is dandy, but fifth gear comes from fear.”

So when you leave a comment, can you also sum up your Halloween experience as a verse? It should start with “Candy is dandy..”


17 thoughts on “Candy is dandy, but fifth gear comes from fear

  1. You’ll be a lot less scared when you have your own little one to take out trick-or-treating. (Hint, hint, err…. I know I’m not your mommy, but I’m standing in for her tonight!)
    That’s when the scary little ghouls and Hannah Montanas and Sarah Palins start to acquire names : Nick, Becky, Tommy, Ashley and so on. Then you get down to your knees and coo in your best approximation of an Awwwwwed voice “What a bee-yootiful costume! You look adorable in it! Here, have another candy bar!” 😉

    Oh, I do a lot of that too 🙂 But many kids are not interested, they will mumble something, eyes on the candy bowl, they are all business, you see 😉

  2. Said the kid, “It’s Halloween,
    And please don’t be mean!”
    “No candy, only popsicle”,
    I said, “I’m not fickle,
    Candy is dandy, but licker is quicker!”

    That’s lovely 🙂 I thought of buying several non-candy alternatives too, but in the end I decided I didn’t want to be left with a full bowl of popsicles or whatever :0

  3. Nice classification 🙂 Cant say anything about Halloween experience as I have none.

    I would say you are lucky 🙂 Though I hear of some people in India celebrating Halloween, complete with costumes and whatnot..

  4. Austria used to be Halloween-free, but nowadays, we’ve got kids trick or treating and pumpkins and unfunny little puns. And it’s all because of the film industry, bringing the US culture to Austria. [The same, btw, goes for Santa Claus.]
    I think those kids are really cute, all the zombies and pirates and mummies. But they don’t come trick and treating at my door as I live in an apartment building.

    I’m sorry, I can’t come up with a verse… 😦

    American popular culture can be blamed a lot of things, but trick or treating may have Irish origins.. but giving candy (instead of say, apples) must be American 🙂

    Those kids are very cute – from a distance 🙂 I suspect eating all the candy on the way makes them a little hyper..

  5. Well, I’ve never had a Halloween experience, but I guess my irritating neighbors who barge into my house every morning to complain about one thing or the other are scarier than these cute kids you describe here and whats worse is that no candy will make them happy so I would say ….Candy is rare, even neighbors can be a scare.

    Love your verse! And your neighbors barge in? Wow.

    Those neighbors seem rude!
    Ask them “where are your manners, dude?” 🙂

  6. Candy is dandy, but young ‘uns are plain fun!
    It surely can’t be that scary! The best thing I would do is give them chocolates and let them know that it is made of lizard blood mixed with ghost vapour and they will love it as they are vampires/Frank/ghosts themselves!! Works wonders!! 😀

    Some of them are fun! Anyway, they all cute in their costumes 🙂

    Lizard blood mixed with ghost vapor indeed 🙂 Well, you never know these days, last thing I want is a bunch of angry parents on my porch – they are much worse than any kids 😉

  7. @ Lekhni

    Asking them to do a proper trick – like singing a whole carol, which I ask for on Xmas before giving any money – is usually the trick. Although here they leave you alone if you do not have a pumpkin outside your house..

    The following does not represent my experience with kids in my neighbourhood but I think will apply to American kids in huge numbers 😉

    Halloween drives me all batty,
    No candy this year for you, O’ Fatty! 😉

    Thankfully, this part of the Midwest is very outdoorsy, obese children are uncommon. But on asking them to do tricks – you should see the hurry they are in 😀 They will ring the bell and immediately press their nose on the glass side panels, wondering what’s taking you so long. If they could quote Robert Frost, they’d tell you they have miles to go before THEY sleep 😉

  8. Woohoo Lekhni!! That was a riot!!
    This was my first year when I took my kid T or T ing..and the rules were firm….no get what you get…and you say Thank you!! And of course, there were multiple reinforcements of the rules…every 10 mins or so…
    So hopefully, we didn’t scare anyone away!!
    Good luck next time!! Sorry about not putting it in verse…really bad at that!

    Thanks for sharing your experience, verse or not! I stayed for a half-hour of trick-or-treating, and I found that my immediate neighbors accompanying their kids, doing exactly what you describe – asking them to take only one candy, reminding them to say “Thank you” and so on.. I can imagine it’s not easy as a parent to do this at each house 🙂

    Perhaps that’s why many parents usually let the kids go off alone – there were scores of other unaccompanied kids too..

  9. LOL, I’ve always wished I could have experienced the Trick-or-treat tradition. Errm, only as long as I was a kid I suppose. Great post!

    You are never too old 😀 I see some parents experiencing it vicariously, when they bring their children..some even bring toddlers who are clearly too young to eat candy – who do you think the candy is really for? 😉

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  11. What a fun post. This is our first year in a new neighborhood, and I bought two bags of candy and decorated the door with lights and a toothy Jack O’. Come Halloween eve, and there were no kids! We later found out that all the trick-or-treaters go to more kid-intensive neighborhoods.

    (I tried putting that to rhyme, but it didn’t quite work out. lol)

    I remember looking at your twitpic and admiring your Jack O Lantern 🙂 No kids came? That’s so disappointing ! Here’s my attempt at verse, on your behalf:

    Candy is dandy, but my pumpkins didn’t bring in the munchkins..

  12. This is my baby boy’s first Halloween (he is 24 days old) . Our apartment kids were so excited to take him for trick or treat..And he went with them with his mom…his candy harvest was by far the biggest . 🙂

    I can imagine why 🙂 He looks very cute, and I love that picture of him smiling in his sleep! Who says little babies don’t smile – this one certainly does!

  13. i have vague recollections of dressin up as a witch with a broomstick. but cant for the life of me recall if it was for halloween. I hope so. Else i will have to ask my mother why the heck was she dressing me up to scare people. but no memories of candies at all? Bawl! now im feeling cheated.

    ( Cute post)

    The candies would have lasted for all of 30 seconds. No wonder you don’t remember them 😉

  14. Candy is dandy, but not when it’s wasted on mere infants. A friend whose house was (inexplicably) bypassed by trick-or-treaters this year has donated the unused treats to our weekend movie marathon. We are pleased about this.

  15. LOL! loved the post. Reminded me of my own kids who picked up this song in school a few weeks before Halloween:
    “Trick or Treat, Smell my feet, Give me something good to eat,
    If you don’t, I don’t care, I will pull your underwear”
    Must admit it sounded rather cute (can’t help it if you have 4 yr old twin boys singing in perfect chorus) but I had to keep a stern face. It required a lot of coercing to make sure they did not sing that at the front porch of our neighbors.
    As for the verse, I wouldn’t be able to beat the one above :>)

  16. Pingback: First Halloween | The Imagined Universe

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