I love Halloween. There’s a tangible sense of excitement crackling through the brisk autumn air. A feeling of community as you open your front door to share your sugary bounty. The sweetness of seeing all the little faces lit up as they eagerly schlep their buckets and bags from one doorstep to the next. And the best part – going through the kids’ candy “because I’m the parent, that’s why.”
But there are also some things about Halloween that rub me the wrong way — like Smarties (who even eats those?!). And, of course, these…
1. Totally age-inappropriate Halloween costumes for girls.
I swear, some of the costumes I’m seeing marketed toward preteens really bring out the crotchety old lady in me. Short skirts, thigh-high tights, garters, low-cut fronts, whaaaat? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed a few years’ worth of risqué Halloween wear in my pre-baby-bod heyday (slutty witch, slutty gypsy, slutty somebody-in-an-afro-wig) – but that was when I was an adult. (Well, sort of.) Like twenty-one and over. Going to adult cocktail (okaaaay, keg) parties. Not trick-or-treating. Yet some of these costumes meant for little girls look like they could be purchased at one of those stores that carries penis-shaped ice trays and hats with boobs on the front. I’m no prude, but there’s just something inherently wrong about anyone under voting age trying to look drinking age. Ick.
2. Trick-or-treating well past childhood.
Everybody likes free candy. I myself enjoy being the recipient of free candy (hence the reason I pilfer through my children’s Halloween haul and deem everything I like “unsafe”). But I don’t trick-or-treat. Why? Because I’m past “that age.” And once you’re, like, old enough to drive from house to house, you should leave the costumes to the kiddies and stick to handing out candy or toilet papering people’s trees or something. It irritates me when a trick-or-treater comes up to me with a.) cleavage that rivals the “after” picture of a boob job, or b.) facial hair. Dude and Dudette, it’s obvious that you have already gone through puberty and therefore have little reason to be hanging out among the elementary-aged hobgoblins, so get the hell off my steps. One exception: if you’re taking a younger sibling out. I understand how much of your teenage coolness you’re sacrificing for someone else’s sake, so here, have a fun-sized Snickers or three.
3. A serious lack of manners.
This again is something that I mostly notice among the older (read: too damn old to be trick-or-treating) trick-or-treaters: a complete lack of the fundamental “please” and “thank you.” Not only that, but half of them don’t even say the requisite “trick or treat,” choosing instead to rudely and greedily thrust their open bags in my direction. When I take my kids door to door, I make sure that they use their manners at every single house. If not, we’re going home: simple as that. Even my 2-year-old is able to follow that rule, so it shouldn’t be hard for anyone, especially people who are more than a decade older than he is.
4. “Trick or treat, smell my feet.”
In the same vein as a lack of manners, we have this ridiculous and rude little ditty: “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat,” and all its stupid ending variations (i.e., “If you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear”). Call me bitchy, but it’s disrespectful. And if you actually encourage your kids to say this — as I heard one father do, urging his two little girls to say it at my house — you should be slapped upside your head. I gave those two little girls candy, but only out of sympathy that they had such a dumbass father. When they left, my oldest son looked up at me, wide-eyed, and said, “I didn’t even laugh. I don’t think that was funny.” Could I have been any prouder? Probably not. Because I don’t think there’s anything funny about being rude to people who are generously giving you stuff.
5. Babies trick-or-treating.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum are the trick-or-treating babies. And by “trick-or-treating” I mean “riding around dressed up in a stroller and sleeping or looking bored while their parents say ‘trick-or-treat’ for them and collect candy on their behalf.” Here’s the thing: I have four kids myself, and I know how cute babies look in costumes. I know that you can’t wait to dress them up and parade them around their first Halloween, especially your first baby, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But the whole “getting candy” thing? Is for kids with teeth. Who can say “trick-or-treat!” themselves and walk up to the door – even if they need a little assistance – and hold their own candy receptacles. Until my kids are able to do this, I dress them up and maybe take them to the neighbor’s house, or my mom’s or something, but never door to door. If it’s Halloween candy you want, parents of little-bitty babies, maybe try going out and buying some like the rest of us did. Raiding your kids’ stash should be a privilege reserved for parents of age-appropriate trick-or-treaters! (Lord knows we earn it with all the costuming and post-candy-consumption bellyaching we have to endure.)
So there you have it — five things that bug me about what is, otherwise, one of my favorite holidays. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to hop off my broomstick (er, soapbox) and prepare a space in the furthest reaches of my underwear drawer for all the “unsafe” candy I’m planning to collect from my kids.