Halloween is a candy lovers dream. (Or nightmare, if you are trying to eat clean.) Imagine Halloween night in a house with six kids. Crazy! When the kids get home from Trick-or-Treating, we have them dump their candy into a pile. Like our parents did and their parents before them, we look through the loot for signs of razor blades, needle tracks and pre-licked suckers. With the amount of kids we're dealing with here, it kind of ends up looking like a gluttonous free for all is about to take place, or like Willy Wonka had a going out of business sale. Or like a candy store exploded. All this to say, we end up with a shit-load of candy. I'm sorry, but that is the unit of measurement that best describes the haul these guys bring in.
When the kids were all younger and before Anna was even born, things were handled in a much different way than they are now. We would pile up the candy, search through it looking for the bad guy tricks, then let them ogle it for a while. They would paw through it, sort the candy into piles by brand, then eat a few small pieces before brushing their teeth and going to bed. Then we would put all of the candy into a community bowl, up on the fridge to be doled out by mom or dad,a couple of pieces a day. Eventually, Christmas would roll around and I'd use some of the Hershey kisses and chocolates for stocking-stuffers. (Hey, they didn't care if the foil on their chocolate kiss was red and green or brown and orange!) Finally, tired of looking at the big bowl which contained mostly bubble gum, Smarties and those nasty orange and black wrapped peanut butter taffy things, I would dump it in the garbage. Then I would refill the bowl with their Christmas stocking candy, which would last until the Easter candy arrived. The great circle of candy bowl life.
As they grew older and a little wiser, they started to guard their candy stash like it was gold straight out of Fort Knox. No more community candy bowl. No way! They each kept their own stash in a bag, hidden away from the looters. Trading would begin with all the savvy of a Wall Street power lunch. The older kids would smugly walk away with Reece's cups traded for Lick 'em Sticks. Mike would have to beg and plead for the miniature Clark bars. This was serious business!
Now, they are more settled in their candy preferences. Most of the candy goes to work with Mike for his graduate students while the kids hang on to a few good pieces. I even started using the community bowl again last year. Mike is offered the Clark bars without a second thought. It has become a kinder, gentler evening. Anna is allowed carte blanche over her stash; too old to be conned out of the good stuff yet young enough to want to keep it all.
This year, we will trick-or-treat in our neighborhood. We will pass out candy to our neighbor kids and have taco salad. The down side to this story is that we aren't costume prepared, but that will take care of itself. We get most creative under pressure. This morning Clare said she thought she might put on a couple of coats and go as a coat rack. I've seen worse costumes.