As an adult, there are a variety of ways to do Halloween, most of them acceptable. You can go all-in and dress the entire family in theme. You can leave the costumes and candy to the kid. You can simply stay home to pass out candy. You can make sacrifices to the harvest gods. In short, Halloween offers a little something for everyone.
Unfortunately, that also means sanctimonious scolds who hate fun and sweetness can carve out their own little something, right after they’re done carving out their own black hearts. Sure, America has a problem with sugar. Sure, candy is part of that problem. It’s an important conversation to have, but you need to just turn off your porch light and refuse to participate if you’re going to participate poorly and substitute things like random toys and pamphlets to highlight those facts.
Unless, I suppose, your pamphlets are related to making sacrifices to the harvest gods, though you should at least include some candy corn or something else to use as a totem for said harvest. But nooooo, these scolds won’t do that, because it’s not about you. It’s about them. And they have an insane need to make a point to all the tiny Incredible Hulks and little Reys that make the mistake of ringing their doorbell.
Since this is apparently difficult, here is a handy-dandy guide to not being that person on Halloween (though feel free to incorporate these ideas into your everyday life as well).
Hand Out Good Candy
Remember that disgusting peanut butter taffy death chew garbage in the orange and black wrappers from when you were a kid? Just say no. If you wouldn’t eat it, then don’t pass it out. If you’re going to hand out treats to the little tricksters, do so from a place of love. Go all out. Buy the fun-sized candy bars and “fruit”-flavored treats. We’re talking Milky Ways and Nerds and Twix and Starbursts. Be that house, the one that children beat each other with cheaper candy to get to first.
Don’t Try to Pass Off Fruit as a Treat
Apples and bags of carrots have their place. That place is in the bottom of your kids’ lunch boxes as they go on their daily field trip from the house before being sacrificed to the harvest gods and dropped into the garbage can upon their return. Your kids may even eat them. Mine actually do enjoy some fruits and vegetables (except for the one who doesn’t eat any vegetables). Regardless, it’s a special occasion and should be treated as such. This is not a time to prove a point, but to spread Joy if it’s got nuts, and Mounds if it doesn’t.
Remember: Sweet Does Not Equal Treat
One fruit should not exist at all. It especially should not exist in your Halloween offerings. It’s a dry, shriveled shadow of its former greatness, having been destroyed not for good, like to make wine, but for evil. Of course, the fruit in question is the raisin, a horrid and disgusting bit of sadness created out of necessity back before refrigeration had been discovered. Now we have refrigeration, and it’s time to let the raisin go the way of the panda bear: being kept on life support by foreign governments. Coating it in chocolate does not change this truth.
But Really: Give Good Candy
There are times to make a point, and there are times to hand over a Snickers. Halloween is a time for the latter. Regardless of your personal convictions, community requires some sacrifice. Halloween is a time for community. It’s also a time to get real. That means you get real with what passes as real chocolate.
That is, unless you’re an actual wicked witch, you buy all the milk chocolate and caramel and nougat, and you load those buckets up with it. You’re a harbinger of horror. You’re a bringer of doom. Bring it. Exasperated parents and pediatric dentists are counting on you. We need a bedtime battle; we need blood to feel alive.
Your Protests Are Stupid and Horrible
Halloween is pure indulgence. It’s an occasion for gluttony and tooth rot, and there’s only one task at hand: to remind people of that. That’s why you go in armed with the aforementioned chocolate and fruit-“flavored” sugar.
Except you, Sanctimommy. You’re armed with cavity prevention and a message. You forgo the apple and go straight for the jugular with a toothbrush. You act like pencils and little notepads that allow kids to use their imaginations are treats and not just future trash to be strewn about our homes.
All the parents applaud you, your conviction—off in the parallel universe that is Earth Two. Here on Earth One, we curse you. We’re trying to ride a stomachache home, and you’re trying to prove a point. Maybe you’re right, but here’s the thing: we didn’t become parents for you to usurp our authority. We’re still in charge here, and we want our little ghouls amped up and fighting to the death in the living room as we attempt to talk them down and get them to bed.
We know they need to brush better. We know they need to eat more healthy, natural foods, and tomorrow we’ll get back to fighting that battle. Stop trying to make it happen on a night known for treacly horror.
All you’re serving up is a heaping helping of disappointment. Your toothbrushes can’t scrub away the fact that you’re a failure. Your pencils and papers spell out one word—yearning. Your pamphlets, to quote Mitch Hedburg, all say, “Here, you throw this away.”
You’re the parent everyone avoids whenever possible, the one who ruins school meetings and recess and thinks children should be raised in small, sterile terrariums. But on Halloween, this most unholy of holidays, we cannot avoid you, because you insist on turning on your porch light and making a statement. Well, guess what: we got the message, loud and clear. When it comes to sacrifices for the harvest, you’ve volunteered to be first in line.