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Putting the "Trick" Back Into Trick-or-Treat

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Guest blogger Jenna McCarthy: I have a skeleton to pick with whoever came up with the whole trick-or-treat concept.

girl holding a halloween basket full of candies

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for pumpkin-carving and adorable costumes and ghoulish, glow-in-the-dark decor. But the dimwit who decided it was wise to send our kids door-to-door amassing their weight in sugar in a single evening ought to be hog-tied and forced to spend thirteen back-to-back hours in a room full of the wound-up goblins. (Whatchamacallit Dude, I'm talking to you.)

My daughters may only be three and five, but they're smart. They take a mental inventory as the loot drops into their bottomless bags, so it's not like I can even sneak a bite-size Snickers out of the deal when they're not looking. "Mom! I had forty-six Tootsie Rolls and now there are only forty-five. Let me smell your breath." Little witches.

Back in her day, my well-intended grandmother attempted to sway the tide by opting to give out shiny new pennies in lieu of candy. (The woman actually pawed through her pennies to be sure they were indeed both shiny and new.) Trust me when I tell you there is nothing sadder than the sight of a 77-year-old woman leaping about her lawn and trying to remove 92 miles of toilet paper from her trees.

I mentioned to my friend Anne that I'd been fretting about how I was going to pry the sticky haul out of their grubby Halloween-stained hands. "You don't know about the Switch Witch?" she asked, aghast. I admitted I did not. "Oh, she rocks," Anne insisted. "Your kids get to pick out a toy that they want and the day after Halloween, they leave their candy sacks by their beds and the Switch Witch takes it away and trades it for the toy."

I feel bad for the poor Switch Witch's thighs, but I'll take a ginormous bag of candy over a blood-stained incisor any day of the year.

Jenna McCarthy is the author of "The Parent Trip: From High Heels and Parties to Highchairs and Potties." When she's not pinching candy from her children, she can be found online at

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Dorothy October 31, 2008, 6:31 AM

That is a good idea but I think a lot of kids still would want the candy. Some kids have way too many toys that they don’t even play with.

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