Thursday, November 01, 2007

Corruption

The Halloweens I remember are from elementary-school days, and they were all about greed. I passionately protested the Home and School Association’s use of sunflower seed packets as an October fundraiser. I weighed the advantages of different trick-or-treating routes: should I stick to the rich part of town with its higher ratio of chocolate bars to roll candy and icky toffees, or should I wend my way towards the older part of town where the houses were closer together, achieving the greatest number of doors per hour? By six-thirty on Halloween night I was chomping at the bit to get going and bargaining for the right to stay out until nine. My mother put her foot down at using pillow-cases to hold the candy, so I scavenged in the broom closet for the largest plastic bag I could find.

When my best friend and I returned from trick-or-treating, we shed our matching cheerleader costumes and spent a pleasurable half-hour sorting our haul and doing inventory. One year a lone KitKat was discovered between our two piles and I claimed it as my own, even when our final count revealed that I mysteriously had two more chocolate bars than she did.

Candy corrupts, and Halloween candy corrupts absolutely.

“This is it,” I told hubby last night. “This is the pinnacle – the one Halloween that falls between last year’s ignorance and next year’s greed.” Last year, my children enjoyed Halloween in that shy, startled way that accompanies a wholly unexpected but nonetheless pleasurable experience. They stood mutely on doorsteps, resisting all our promptings of “trick or treat.” One-year-old Pie padded up and down driveways in her sheep costume, but rarely held out her bag for a treat. It was a fun night, but it was also embarrassingly obvious who all that candy was really for.

This year, both kids knew that something was up. “Are we going outside tonight?” Bub asked over dinner in a tone that suggested both confidence and skepticism. It’s such an unlikely thing, really, that we would don costumes, leave the house, and knock on our neighbours’ doors at a time when we would normally be running baths and putting on jammies.

Both children warmed up to the enterprise quickly. “It’s Pie’s turn to knock on the door,” I would caution Bub, only to be cut off by her protest: “I’m not Pie, I’m a monkey!” As we backed away from the door, Pie would urge, “Let’s find another door to knock!” and Bub would say, “Here Daddy, you hold my bag full of candy!”

By next year, their joy in their costumes and trick-or-treating will have been subordinated by naked greed. I kept that in mind last night, enjoying their innocence while it lasted. What I didn’t realize was how soon it would come to an end. The moment of corruption occurred at approximately 7:45 when Bub opened his first bag of chips and Pie demanded a “big candy,” receiving a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup in return. The sheer joy of seeing small pirates and princesses roaming the neighbourhood and being just a little bit “scary” at the skeletons and Frankensteins on the doors has given way to an unexpected aftermath of hedonistic indulgence.

Today, the costumes have been put away and the begging for candy has commenced. Bub won’t eat his peanut butter sandwich until I promise him “the last chips,” and I nearly had to fight the Pie at lunch in order to gulp down a mini Mars bar and a Twix that I’d surreptitiously looted from her bag. As for the Starburst sour chews and the Coffee Crisps, I’m hiding those along with some of the best crinkly chips. November is a dark, gloomy month. I’m going to need them.

42 comments:

Kathryn said...

If only my boys knew that I was taking bits and pieces of their candy and either eating it or throwing it in the trash when they go to bed. I bet they think they are just eating their candy really quickly.
So far the greed hasn't kicked in to full affect here either. The boys were doing the "Halloween candy trade" all morning instead. "I'll give you two Smarties for your Tootsie Pop!". "No way!" etc. I much prefer this to the stealing and sneaking that will no doubt come in years to follow.

Jess said...

Interesting how Pie becomes corrupted at an earlier age than Bub because of the presence of an older and wiser (and presumably more corrupt) sibling. I wonder how many other things I did at a younger age due to the example of my older sister before me.

Pieces said...

Mmmmm, coffee crisp....

That was the hardest part about my kids not trick-or-treating this year--no bag of loot to pillage for myself. Not that I can't just go buy myself candy whenever I want...

mamakie said...

Four is definitely the age when greed begins to seap in to the Halloween experience. My daughter was all about getting "more candy!". At least she had the common sense to say she wanted to go home when her bad got too heavy.

Today has been spent sorting and resorting their respective bags of candy on the dining room table. They seem to be satisfied with two pieces after each meal (lunch and dinner).

nomotherearth said...

The Boy would only say "more candy please!" despite the fact that he would say "trick or treat" at home. I still have to go through his candy - he got A LOT. I hope he doesn't notice that much of it is gone and start yelling.

Jennifer said...

My sister was like you -- she used to memorize what houses offered what candy, so that she could go to them first the following year. Now that she's an adult, she polls the neighbor kids for candy ideas because she wants to be known as The House With The Best Candy.

It never occurred to me to do that. I didn't even know she had done that until last year... So, you know. It's possible your children will be like me, and just take the candy as it comes!

Patois said...

My three are equally greedy, but the most amusing part of it is the fact that my daughter does not like candy. She likes the idea of dressing up. She likes the idea of asking (nicely) for it. She likes seeing her stash. But she has no desire to eat it. She's just never been into sweets. So I let her keep her loot in her room, and I concentrate on eating the good stuff out of the boys' bags 'cause I know I've got all the time in the world with the daughter. But those boys of mine? Just like me.

Catherine said...

The only thing better than those CUTE pictures is this statement:

It’s such an unlikely thing, really, that we would don costumes, leave the house, and knock on our neighbours’ doors at a time when we would normally be running baths and putting on jammies.

I love that!

lildb said...

oh, how I love your babies. they are so -- so beyond everything your ordinary, everyday descriptors could possibly deem them as.

Karen said...

LP today has decided that the wagon we used to pull him and his little brother up the street of fairly generously spaced houses - is a magical wagon. Today in the car he mentioned hopefully, "I do not see my magical wagon? Are we going to find it?" He's on to something...he just doesn't know that the magical piece is the date, not the vehicle...it shouldn't take much longer.

Beck said...

Ah, candy. The Grim Diet has been temporarily put on hold while all this candy is in the house, because who can resist?
My kids still love costumes, but they sobbed last night when it started hailing and we had to trick-or-treat from the car, thus limiting the number of houses they could go to. Poor tots.

Cyndi said...

Your kids look so cute. We didn't do Halloween when I was a kid, so thanks for the heads up about all the greed. I am just trying to keep my hands off all the good stuff this year and let her have a couple of chocolates. Talk about greed!

JCK said...

So true, so true. Great writing!

Last year my BOY loved knocking on doors the best. Then he would run into the houses to see if any fun things were inside. We soon caught on and had to almost tackle him after the flung "trick-or-treat" and he hurtled forward. GIRL was feverish, so it was very low key. This year, it was pretty fabulous. They loved their costumes and getting the candy was fun. I've outwitted them so far as to the fact that there is a candy stash somewhere. They haven't asked....yet.

Aliki2006 said...

Coffee crisp? What is that? It sounds utterly decadent.

Sarcasta-Mom said...

LOL. I've already started "checking" the candy for dangerous poisons and what-not. You'd be amazed at how many weirdos hide evil things in chocolate. Just keeping the kids safe. :)

Maddy said...

Glad you had such a great time. I can tell you can hardly wait for next year really.
Cheers

Kyla said...

Ah, BubTar is five and we still had a corruption-free holiday. I guess neither of our kids are too big on candy. The costumes are MUCH more exciting still.

God, I want some Coffee Crisps. I think I'd give my right hand to be able to trick or treat in Canada. ;)

Magpie said...

Coffee Crisps??? That sounds like something I would like.

We were intermittently trying to keep up with the posse, and just strolling along, hand in hand, me and my Glinda the Good Witch. It was kind of half way in between the two poles you describe.

Mad Hatter said...

It's fun to play taunt the American with Canadian chocolate choices, isn't it? I've already sent a bunch of smarties south and now Coffee Crisp seems all the rage. Mmmmm, Coffee Crisp. I nagged MadDad mercilessly last night to get up and answer the ruddy door already instead of always leaving it to me, me, me. He did and I promptly gave him hell for handing out the Coffee Crisps. "Don't you know," I lamented "that you're supposed to hoard those until the end." He didn't answer the door again. Merde.

Miss M had her golden Hallowe'en last night too. MadDad and I were grinning like fools about it all day long.

bubandpie said...

Mad - Hubby pulled all the Coffee Crisps out ahead of time - we gave out the Smarties, Aeros, and KitKats and threw in some Swedish Berries for good measure.

Aliki, Pieces, Kyla - Bwahahahaha! Come to Canada, and the Coffee Crisps are on me!

b*babbler said...

Ooh... Coffee Crisp.

Mr Babbler gave all of ours away last night. All of them. Every. Single. One.

That is an unforgivable sin, really.

Julie Pippert said...

Because of the party, we only do our closest neighbors homes on our street (which is long enough really, especially with the cul-de-sac to appease any kid...especially one faced with five groaning buffet tables too).

This year they came home with so little candy it's already gone, and without any gorging or tummy aches. I think there are a few random pieces left. Maybe.

Normally I do candy buy back. But I like this year better.

Julie
Using My Words

Janet said...

My eldest has already crossed over. The toddler, however, is on the cusp of pure Halloween joy. This year she suspiciously headed up driveways only to turn and run the other way at a dog barking or spooky music. Next year she will be an enthusiastic and innocent participant in the festivities. I can't wait.

Speaking of hoarding, you know what is pathetic? I noticed a bag of Mr. Big, Caramilk and Wunderbar on sale for just over a buck at the grocery story today. I bought it. And hid it. Just for me. Because there isn't enough candy in the house right now.

My thighs are so mad at me right now.

Veronica Mitchell said...

My girls ate their candy in two days. I may have helped.

wordgirl said...

This year with one in college, one a senior in high school and another 13 years old there were no Halloween sacks to pillage. We've got some leftover candy from our own stash, but I miss the variety that their trick-or-treating afforded me. And? I miss them being little. It was a very different Halloween this year.

Alpha DogMa said...

What cuties you have. The greed gets them good by age 5.

Sarcastic Mom (aka Lotus) said...

Hah, I love the mental of you wrassling for candy with the lil' bean.

We didn't even leave the house... Braden wore his costume and plodded up to the door for each visitor, giving them the, "Who invited you?" look.

Priceless.

Chaotic Joy said...

Oh yes, it's definately about greed. But here I really think the costume part outweighs it, at least for now.

And I ate, way, way, way too much candy yesterday. I am going to try to stay away from it today.

Jenifer said...

Isn't it funny that greed has by-passed us so far...no one asked me for candy last night at all, despite the fact that the bags are still on the counter.

It is like my girls know that they are not going to get much of it so they don't bother.

I bet by next year though the greed will be in full force.

radical mama said...

I am surprised that my kids haven't done any sort of inventory yet. Luckily for me, they generally pass up the chocolate bars for the suckers and skittles. Lucky me!

-The Shiny Happy Mama- said...

Oh, indeed, B&P. Candy corrupts. I caught Noah red handed yesterday - hand in his candy bag, teeth full of chocolate - 20 minutes before dinner. At least Lilah still asks first.

Great post, btw!

Jenn said...

I'm using M & M's to potty train Little A, so I've scavenged and bartered for every last bag of them that I could.

Oh, the Reeses Cup's Big A thought she got?

She must have been confused....

nikki said...

I love the cowboy costume. Very cute. Thankfully my three year old hasn't been totally corrupted yet. I'm waiting. It's only a matter of time.

(Starbursts rock.)

Occidental Girl said...

I know, it is a sad, sad thing to think of a night of naked begging for chocolate...and I love that we do it.

My daughter's little pumpkin bag was full, FULL! and we were still ringing doorbells. By the time I noticed her bag was so full, I was embarrassed at what people must've thought, looking at that.

We were having fun, seeing our neighbors that we don't know, they being delighted with her costume and talking to her and her being polite, I didn't want it to end! I felt like a big loser (beggar) when I noticed the full candy bag. What must people have thought of me??

Mrs. Who said...

I was going to vote for you on the Weblog contest, but how do we know which category you are in???

natalie said...

Your children look fantastic--oh the fun!

I think that when I was a child, Hallowe'en was more about Vanity than Greed. I loved dressing extravangantly, performing grown-up femininity in my Princess Lea or "Gypsy" costumes, and eliciting oohs and ahhs from grownups who were clearly floored by my beauty. Pretty corrupt.

I didn't care much about the candy -- maybe because my mom let me use the pillowcases? I usually got two or three full, and my dad would lug them around! The candy lasted me months, and my brother usually ate most of it.

I sometimes wonder how that little girl turned into the grownup me, who far prefers a nice meal to a nice dress.

Gwen said...

Greed grows rampant in our house. My kids are all about getting the candy, though, and then sorting it (oh the everlasting fun of sorting), but eating it? not so much. I am ridiculously untempted by Halloween candy and my husband is all disciplined, so these bowls and bowls and bowls just sit until I finally perform a mercy purge.

Maybe I would be more cheerful about Halloween if we liked the candy more ......

Momish said...

Yep, innocence lost. How adorable they both look all dressed up, yet I can't believe how big they got! Where have I been?

bgirl said...

oh coffee crisp...i'm looking forward to my winter visits to canada..all the good sweets i get to indulge in!

here, the coveted item was the red tootsie lollipop. who knew such joy could be found by simply carrying one around?

bren j. said...

Ahhh...the rich neighbourhood, with its full-size chocolate bars, regular-sized cans of pop, and toothpaste? Yup, I remember one house where we used to get toothpaste and/or toothbrushes. If there's one way to end the greed, it's USELESS Halloween loot!

And then there were those horrid wafer bar things! Ugh! One year I must've gotten at six of one kind and a half-dozen of another kind. All awful!

Very sweet costumes. Bub looks so grown up as a cowboy!

Julie said...

I am about to admit something I've never admitted before. But first, a little background.

As children, when we received money, I was the saver and my sister the spender. I had a growing bank account and she had a growing pile of stuff.

But at Halloween, I was the eater and she the saver. Of course we counted and traded and all on Halloween night after our return to the warmth of our house. And then within DAYS mine was all gone and hers was just sitting there.

Just sitting there.

And so sometimes I stole some. Even when I knew she would probably give me some if I asked since I was the older sister.

Hmm. I wonder if she knew.

Anonymous said...

You little ones are precious! I was reading Amalah's blog a bit ago and it looks like your daughter wore the same costume as her son. I thought you'd appreciate that insight since you mentioned the little competition prayer you made about her. LOL I haven't voted - so I am non-biased. Good luck!