A Note to the Halloween Witch
November 4, 2009
For the last two years we’ve adopted the tradition of sacrificing our sugary goods to earn the good graces and fabulous gifts of the Halloween Witch. She flies through the night sky two days after Halloween, collecting all treats that have not yet been consumed by the children of the land to add to her sticky, sugary, tooth-destroying stash. In return for these leftover treats, she leaves a toy for each child who gives up his or her candy completely.
Our dentist told us that it was much better for the kids’ teeth to eat a bunch of candy every day for a short period of time than to eat a little bit every day for weeks or months. The idea of fighting with them for weeks about when and how much candy they could eat was absolutely agonizing to me. So we told the kids to just eat whatever they wanted as fast as they could and let the sugar-high chaos ensue. In the end, we turned to the Halloween Witch for help when we realized that we absolutely could not handle what our children became each year as they barreled their way through a seemingly unending candy gorge-fest.
I know you might be thinking that maybe we shouldn’t let the kids go trick-or-treating, or maybe only let them go to houses where we know only toys or vegetables will be given. Perhaps you’re one of those parents who lets your kids trick-or-treat but then confiscates everything the second they come in the door. I just have such good memories of Halloween nights as a child, going from door to door begging for food, running from house to house to fill my pillow case as full as possible and then categorizing, counting, and caressing each treat. I knew exactly what I had in my stash and enjoyed eating every piece. It was sort of a once-a-year rebellion against green beans that made me feel so powerful. I don’t want to take that away from my kids.
So the Halloween Witch compromise works well for everyone. They get to eat sugar non-stop for 2 days following Halloween and then they can choose whether to keep what candy they have left or leave it, ALL of it, on the front porch in a bag for the witch to collect in return for a gift.
I’m very strict about the rules. All candy must be tied up in a grocery bag and left on the front porch. If the witch finds out that you’ve secretly stashed any candy around the house, you get nothing. Laylee is absolutely paranoid about missing out on her present. She had me help her search the house that night to make sure she’d found all the candy. I helped Laylee and Magoo remove all the fun little toys from their bags. (The witch wants sustenance, not children’s toys.) Then we got to the PEZ dispenser, still half full, and it was time for bed.
“Do you think I can keep this?” Laylee asked.
“Yes. A PEZ dispenser is definitely a toy, even if it has candy still in it.”
She looked skeptical. “I just don’t want to make her mad. If she doesn’t leave me any toy because you told me I could keep this, then next year I’m gonna write her a note saying you told me to keep it and it was your fault and can she please leave me TWO toys this time since it wasn’t my idea.”
“I’ve got a better idea,” I said, “How about I write her a note this year saying I told you it was okay to keep the PEZ dispenser because it’s a toy and please excuse you from her wrath.”
“Oh. Good idea!” she sighed with relief.
So there I was, writing a note to my alter-ego, excusing my daughter from the possibly harmful effects of my own parental choices. And it worked. I had mercy on me and Laylee, and toys were left in place of the candy. Phew! That was close. Today, as Magoo plays with his Witch present, he is already begging for shmarshmallows.