Saturday, October 31

How much WILL you treat?

It's the big day folks. Next to Christmas, I'm betting this is kids' favorite day. You get to wear special clothes AND get candy? Pure heaven! (Although this begs the question: How did it become such a grand old tradition to send our kids out into the night, instructing them go door-to-door begging strangers for stuff? And threatening them with a trick if they didn't comply!)

Moral qualms aside, I usually enjoy this holiday. The last few years, though, it hasn't been a big deal. Most of my friends don't throw costume parties, and we lived in a secure, child-free building. So Halloween has passed more or less unnoticed for four years. Well, except for all the great candy sales.

This year, though, we find ourselves in a large-ish complex. With a lot of kids. Maybe it's not a big deal. But the few kids we tend to run into are pretty horrible. Okay, I'm sure there are plenty of normal, well-mannered ones around. But there is also the group that keeps peeing in the elevator over the weekend, when maintenance is off-duty.

All this makes me kind of reluctant to give out candy. And, financially, there's not a great incentive either. If you stock up for a month or so beforehand, you can probably get a cache of goodies for $10 or less. Assuming you don't raid it when the cravings strike. But we've been cutting back on unnecessary expenses, which means very little candy. So what I do get, I prefer to eat.

And if you haven't been stocking up? You're looking at $15-20 of candy, gone by the end of the night. Maybe some people don't mind it; maybe I'm just the Scrooge of Halloween (Scrooge o' lantern?). But a few years ago, when I did bother with candy, half the kids didn't even bother to dress up. And a few even asked me for more candy! It didn't really endear me to the whole tradition.

So, what are our options? We could bite the bullet and buy some candy; we can just not answer the door (unlikely, Tim can't even let a phone ring until the machine picks it up); or we can go out. Frankly, if I'm going to spend $15-20, I would prefer to spend it on a rare night out with my husband.

Then yesterday I got a Dave & Buster's offer, buy $20 of credits, get another $20. Certainly cheaper than going to a bar. Since Tim got one too, we're taking his friend Joe and Joe's wife, Marty. They don't much like the kids in the complex either.

In case you're wondering, I do feel a little guilty. I benefited from so many people's generosity as a kid, and if more people were like me, the holiday would probably suck. But in the end, there are plenty of people who are stocking up on candy. And, if we ever live in a house, I'll probably bite the bullet. Right now, though, I think Tim and I need some fun.

Luckily, not everyone is like me. And to all those actually celebrating Halloween, I am interested to hear back from you:

For those of you who are more generous: How much are you giving out? Does it change along with finances? Have you been stocking up on sales?

Anyone who goes out with the kids: Are people giving out less candy these days? Or, like Christmas, is this something that everyone finds the money for?



Anonymous Plothole Tsi said...

Answering the last question: A little of both. I got two small bags for 5 dollars (knowing our complex is big, but lacing in children, and children don't stop at apartment doors often). I've had a coupon sitting around I didn't pounch on that gave you 3 dollars at fred meyers if you bought a nestle or wonka-brand bag of candy, and frankly, I DO feel inclined to spend the money to get candy for children.

I also don't feel bad about giving out just one piece. Ya gotta earn it, kiddos! Walk, walk, and walk! When I was a kid, just getting a single piece from a house was a little on the stingy side, but totally expected. And hey, if it's unusual candy, or candy you liked, you bitched less. And if a kid bitches for more, I'll tell'em to check back later or something.

October 31, 2009 at 6:14 PM

Anonymous Plothole Tsi said...

Oh, hey, another one: my 2.50 bags of candy have like, MAYBE 20 candies in there. You can always go for less-usual offerings, say, little debbie cream pies, at 12 for a dollar? Still sweet, and heck, when I was a kid, I woulda thought, "SCORE! This house is giving out little debbies!"

Though, honestly, you and Tim are really tight right now. Back when I was in college, with an absolute "30-dollars a week or we can't eat" budget, I don't think I woulda bought candy for children for Halloween. I did spend one haloween helping out a canned food drive, though. :)

October 31, 2009 at 6:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We live in an affluent neighborhood with many, many children so I knew that I would have a slew of trick or treaters. About a month ago I started browsing for sales and stocking up and I was able to get 26 bags from Walgreens strictly off of overage from other items and coupons. I paid only tax for these bags, which turned out to be around seven dollars.

I've been giving out handfuls to each kid, and we still have plenty left over with the numbers of children now dwindling. Our extra will go into our Operation Christmas shoeboxes and any after that will be donated to the homeless boxes at church. I figure homeless people can use a treat here and there too and I certainly don't want it sitting around the house going to waste.

I stick to a strict grocery budget so I was happy to get my candy without dipping into it.

I am also happy to give handfuls to the ungrateful teenagers whose ideas of good halloween costumes involves jeans and white T-shirts. It makes me enjoy the pint sized ScoobyDoo and the toddler ballerinas all the more.

October 31, 2009 at 9:21 PM

Anonymous Donna Freedman said...

On the bus a few minutes ago a woman got on with a little boy dressed as Spider-Man. At my stop, I dropped a granola bar and a Tootsie Roll (yeah, I travel prepared) in the plastic pumpkin he carried. Since there were only maybe 15 pieces of candy in there and it was the end of the night, I'm glad I added mine. He beamed, his mother said, "Gracias," and I said, "No hay de que."
Tomorrow: Half-price candy sales!!!

October 31, 2009 at 9:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This year for the first year ever; I shut the blinds and turned off the lights. We live in a rural area...but usually get a dozen kids or so. Tomorrow I will take a nice big-sized candy bar to the 2 neighbor kids next door. I'm not being a scrooge- I've been sick and didn't get to the i said "screw it."

November 1, 2009 at 6:16 AM

Blogger frugal zeitgeist said...

Ha - I just posted on this same topic. This year, hitting the streets with kids and parents left kind of a bad taste in my mouth (and I'm not necessarily blaming the kids). I think I'm pretty much done with Halloween.

November 2, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Blogger SpondyGirl said...

I bought one $10 bag of candy and one $3 bag of candy, and turned the lights off at 8:30 PM, because we ran out (and because we were leaving to go to a party at 9 PM anyway). This is my second year as a home owner, and I love giving out candy, and the kids were all super-sweet. I wish we'd bought more candy, but I got laid off, and we couldn't afford to buy a lot more.

November 3, 2009 at 7:04 PM


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