Candy corn. Tootsie Roll Pops. Nerds. There are some candies that come back year after year, dropped into plastic pumpkins and plastic bags toted by costumed youngsters traveling door to door on their appointed rounds each Halloween evening.

When we moved to this neighborhood just over ten years ago I was so thrilled with the idea that I could hand out Halloween candy for once. I learned quickly a few things: we have a small overlooked neighborhood, that there were just three kids in the neighborhood at the time and that if you keep your light on all night all you’re going to get later on are teenagers who don’t even have a costume, beating on your door at 11 p.m.


But I love the treat ritual. I feel the need to pay forward on this — especially since I was one of those kids that canvassed neighborhood after neighborhood. I got an extended chance to gather candy, since I had a baby brother 12 years younger I could chaperone around. Zack, by the way, decided he was done with trick-or-treating at the age of 11. Too much work, I’m guessing.

TOOTSIE ROLLS:  Someone always gives out a handful of these little chocolate buggers, and they last forever.

  • Kat Robinson
  • TOOTSIE ROLLS: Someone always gives out a handful of these little chocolate buggers, and they last forever.

Some folks just buy whatever candy is on sale. I like being the odd duck in the neighborhood. I give out individual bags of microwave popcorn, pencils, bracelets and a little chocolate to boot. In the past I’ve given out everything from bouncing balls to coupons for Frosty desserts from Wendy’s to granola bars (the latter did NOT go over well). I’ve already bagged everything; I also learned years ago that it’s far easier to hand a child a pre-made bag of candy and treats rather than doing the grab method. It prevents brothers and sisters from having a fight in my front yard (so far, that’s only happened once.

Our neighborhood actually does a headcount the week before the event. I like that! But we’ve been warned that with the new families moving in that we’re going to have far more trick-or-treaters this year than we have had since I moved in — somewhere in the range of three dozen. I think I am ready. I have extra bags on stand-by just in case there are friends that come in from other neighborhoods. The light goes off at 8:30 p.m., one way or another.


Which leads me to some questions. What do you like to give out for Halloween? Are you a traditionalist or do you do something weird like bags of nuts or cans of tuna or something strange like that? How many pieces per child?

And really, when do you turn on your light or escort your child into the street to start ringing doorbells? Used to be we waited until the sun went down, but since now we’re on daylight savings time on Halloween night it’s already dark before most folks come home from work. Your thoughts on it all?