Posted by Kevin G on Thursday, November 4, 2010
We're the only house on our side of the street that participates in Halloween. To me that means handing out candy bars, not inflating some giant Frankenstein monster on the lawn. When we moved in here, 14 years ago, though, no kids would cross the street to trick-or-treat at our house.
When our daughter was young, I didn't mind so much, because I was always out with her, going from house to house. My wife held down the fort here, and passed out candy. Normally, we'd buy bags of fun-size candy bars, and have bags left over--not necessarily a bad thing.
When she was about 12 or 13, our kid decided she was too old or sophisticated to trick-or-treat. (Heck, I'd still go out if I could). When that happened, I started sitting out on the porch to pass out the candy myself. That's when I discovered that we were not a respected candy house. 20, maybe 30 kids would come by, even though I'd see streams of kids going up and down the streets across the way. That's when I hatched the BIG CANDY BAR marketing plan.
The next year, we bought about 100 big candy bars, naturally, the kinds that we liked, in the event of continued dissing by the 4 to 15 year-old crowd. Unbelievably, we still had very few trick-or-treaters show up. I had to go out to the corner and encourage kids to cross the street (Come over here, little boy, we've got big candy bars...). Not exactly the way you want to go about this when the police are rolling up and down the street.
The following year, I carved a large Jack-o-Lantern with the words "Big Candy Bars", and put it out by the corner. It worked! I also walked across the street and bribed my neighbor with a Butterfinger if she would ask kids to cross the street to my house. That year, I had to run out for more.
Slowly, word has gotten around, and 8 years in, we're the first stop on many kids' Halloween night. I don't have to put out a pumpkin anymore; I just sit outside with my candy bars and my banjo and they come strolling up. I hardly even get to play anymore on Halloween. But it's all worth it when the kids walk back down the steps, haul the full-sized Snickers bar out that I've just dropped in there, and shout at their parents: "This is the BEST HOUSE! Look what I got!" I'll even put my banjo down for a while to hear that.
I don't do much for the community, but I loved Halloween when I was a kid, and I'd end my evening by counting how many candy bars I'd pulled in. That's a tradition that deserves to live on. So even though it costs me a little cash each year, seeing that reaction 200 times a night brings it all back. What a great night I had. We're now a very respected candy house. And I could still play banjo later.
Friday, November 5, 2010 @5:28:40 AM
This is a beautiful story! Made me think of all the house we would flock to, where we knew they had the "good candy"! Mike
Jane C Says:
Friday, November 5, 2010 @7:37:41 AM
Bribery. Kids fall for it every time. I'm glad it's not such a big thing here, the teenagers in my town have got the wrong idea, the village, a very well to do area, is like Beirut on a bad night, they egg and flour houses where they aren't well received regardless of who lives there, the state of their age or health or whether anyone is home or not. The police are fully occupied paroling the area. I stock up on goodies just in case but no one came this year, so I guess I'll just have to eat them myself. Oh dear, a filthy job but someoone has to do it. : )
Friday, November 5, 2010 @6:12:15 PM
Run out of cake then, Jane? :)
Its the same here, but not been so bad the last couple of years. We put all the lights out at the front of the house and pretend to be out :/
Sounds nice where you are Kevin - 'Trick or Treat' is really a US import to the UK and we didn't call it that when I were a lad. We just seem to have imported the wrong bits of it sadly.
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