Thursday, October 30, 2014

Teacher's Tricks are NO Treat #ThrowbackThursday

Remember when......

As I sit this year surrounded by hoards of candy collected during this past Halloween, my heart is grateful. You see, there was a year when the candy bowl was nearly empty before it even got filled. It was one of the scariest Halloweens ever. 

I’ll never forget the time when my son announced that he was done trick or treating despite the fact we had only gone two blocks from home. He looked at me through his superhero mask and said, "I have enough candy. Can we please go home?"

Like all mothers (and lovers of milk chocolate covered caramel) I encouraged him to press on. The weather that year was pleasant and I was sure that he would have a good time once he got into the holiday spirit.

However, as soon as we knocked on one more door he repeatedly insisted that we head home. Distraught we paused on the sidewalk, the revelers passing us by, and I examined him from head to toe. Was he feeling ok? I placed my hand on his forehead. Did his costume pinch or did his feet hurt? No, he assured me, he was quite comfortable. I surmised he must be suffering from a combination of fear and shyness and so I made a deal with him; one more block and if he still wanted to turn back we would.

I had faith that once he saw the candy piling up in his treat bag he would become much more interested and he would press on with enthusiasm. Instead after only a few more tricks or treats, he was done. He demanded with fervor to be taken home and refused to collect one more piece of candy.

I was quite disappointed. I looked down into his bag and my heart sank. Oh, not for him. I spied only a handful of my favorite treats and knew I would have great difficulty pilfering any of them from his bag unnoticed.

You see, I believe in a parent’s appreciation tax on Halloween. I bought and/or made that costume he is wearing. I applied the makeup. I endured the two-hour walk with misbehaving children doped up on sugar in the bitter cold. Certainly, there should be some pay off for me. 

Aren't I the one who makes sure Halloween happens? Shouldn't I be the one who gets a payoff? Lucky for my kids I like chocolate. I can be paid off relatively easily.

So, sadly we returned home. As my son dumped out of his treats on the floor and began to sort through them, I turned on the porch light to accept the lucky devils and witches who were still out on the street trick or treating. Turns out that was a brilliant move as I effectively got rid of all the subpar candy we had collected. I mean one can only eat so many Tootsie Rolls and nobody wants those homemade popcorn balls.

While hoping not to get egged for re-gifting Halloween candy, I turned to notice my little guy sorting and organizing his bounty. Impressed with his initiative and pre-math skills I sat down to join him. And that's when I noticed his piece of paper. He wasn't interested in sorting his candy for the fun of it. He had been given a homework assignment to count his loot.

Instantly I realized why my son cut our trick or treating adventure short. He wasn't sick or scared. He knew the less candy he collected the easier his homework assignment would be.

Which either makes him brilliant or a complete slacker.

All I know is when I look back on that year I shudder remembering how I failed to meet my quota for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Almond Joys, and Carmel Apple Suckers. That self-designated appreciation tax I look forward to each year was more like a chocolate famine. And it was a sad time.

Now years later my little guy is a big guy. At six foot three, he convinced me he should be
See? He's too big to Trick or Treat! 
allowed one more romp around the neighborhood. This very well may have been his last Halloween. Which is sad when I think that my little boy is growing up. It also grieves my heart to think that the days are coming when if I want candy I'll have to go out and buy it myself. The days of pilfering through my kids' bags for the good stuff are numbered. Isn't that the scariest trick of all?

This article originally appears in The Daily Review Atlas as a part of my weekly Practical Parenting series. Stephanie is a mother to five children and is a Parent Educator for the Monmouth-Roseville School District. She is available for personal consultation or speaking engagements. She can be reached at

Fess up ..... you eat your kid's candy too! Right? I'm not the only one?
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