Gone are the Days of Smarties and Raisins

Am I cheap, or have things really changed since I was a kid?

I remember my greatest Halloween haul. Dressed as a soldier, I started out at 5 p.m. and trick or treated, sprinting from home to home, until around 9 p.m. I ended up with half a pillowcase of candy. I probably had to go to around 200 homes to collect this stash, and when I returned home, I unfortunately discovered that half of it was little sun-dried raisin packs which quickly found their way to the trash. In all that loot I probably had only one full size candy bar and that was from my grandparents.

Now fast forward to 2003 when my wife and I took our own kids out trick or treating. About five o’clock, my daughter Callie (four years old) dresses in her princess outfit. Clark (one year old) gets put in his frog costume and after a few pictures, we head out. At the first door, the nice lady sees the kids and to my surprise pulls out a full box of M&M packages. These were not the small bags, but the full size, real bags! Man, I wanted to reach in and grab one for myself! It was the first time I’d ever seen a non-grandparent giving out serious candy.

At the next house: more of the same. I mean, my kids are much cuter than I was, but still, they were cleaning house! I was actually relieved when we went to one house and the dad came to the door with a bowl full of “snack” size candy bars. Finally I was in familiar territory, at least until he said, “take 5 or 10!” Last time I ever remember someone getting that much candy at one stop was when my friend decided to help himself at the home that left out an unattended bowl.

By 5:30 pm, my daughter’s arm is tired from hauling all that candy. Clark has opened his King Size Kit Kat and looks like a chocolate dipped cone. By 5:35 p.m., Callie can go on no more and we pack it in for the night. As we walk up to our door, I check our bowl that we had left out for trick or treaters with the sign: “Take two, but beware! I’m watching you.” The bowl didn’t even look like it had been touched. I guess the kids came by and decided, “man, this guy is so cheap, I’m not even going to dignify him by taking his smarties.” Oh well, there’s always this year to make up for it. Happy Halloween!