So, this year I'm ready. I have two cartons full of snack packs of the best pretzels in the entire world. (Yes, this is my family's pretzel company, of course.) I'm ready for 216 Trick or Treaters. Bring 'em.
Some folks may say giving pretzels instead of candy is a lame idea, but when I've done it before most parents seem gushingly grateful. In some years I have given candy, in others I gave pretzels. And one odd year I gave out small containers of play dough.
Note to self: Remember that if you buy candy, it may not make it to Halloween night, and then you will have to go out at the last minute and buy more.
I recently read in the October 2013 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine that the shocking amount Americans spend on Halloween - $8 billion - is second only to Christmas in holiday outlay. That's an eight with lots of zeros, or $8,000,000,000 to be exact. The typical family spends $80 for decorations, costumes, and candy. I had no idea.
I should have expected this, though, just from noticing how elaborate yard decorations have become. Driving through a thoroughly decorated neighborhood one evening, I remember asking myself if Halloween had now become as big a deal as Christmas.
And not only that, it seems that Halloween costumes and decorations just keep getting scarier and scarier.
Speaking of "scary," I came across a website, The Accuracy Project, that lists many names of towns having scary Halloween-related names. Here are just a few that caught my eye:
Frankenstein, Osage County, Missouri
Bat Cave, Henderson County, North Carolina
15 places in the U.S. are called Pumpkin Center
Screamer, Henry County, Alabama
Transylvania, East Carroll Parish, Louisiana
Slaughter, kent County, Delaware
Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona
Skullbone, Gibson County, Tennessee
Spook City, Saguache County, Colorado
Some people are tired of the scary, dangerous aspects of this holiday. A growing number of communities and churches are skipping house calls and instead, providing trunk-or-treating, where families park decorated cars in one neighborhood or church parking lot and pass out candy from the trunks of the cars. In some ways it is like a festive tailgate party.
Last year our church held one of these Trunk-or-Treat events, with church members donating the candy and the young adults group dressed in non-scary costumes that kids would recognize. A whopping 650 kids came Trunk-or-Treating. It was a great outreach effort by the church, and a safe and fun evening for the kids and families.
transformed himself into the old man from the movie "Up" for the event. He stationed his geriatric self near one of the trunks and helped hand out candy. Many of the young kids who had seen the movie thought he was the real deal.
Soon the doorbell will be ringing. Trick or Treat hours in my town are 6:00 to 9:00 PM tonight. I'd better go get into position.
However you celebrate, stay safe, stay warm, and have fun.