“Gaak!” I said, squinting at fumaric acid and magnesium phosphate and tricalcium phosphate, “The scariest things about Halloween are the nutritional labels on the candy bags. Have you read these things?”

“Oh, I love them,” said my neighbor Kim, “Every time I’m tempted to break my diet I just pick up a Cheetos bag and read the label. Works every time.”

We were divvying up this year’s Halloween candy offerings. I always buy way way way too much Halloween candy, thanks to my inevitable I’m-going-to-drown-in-wee-ghoulies-and-ghosties-and-run-out-of-goodies panic attack when I’m standing in the candy aisle. I drop one bag in the cart, then two, three, four…

Usually the population of trick or treaters isn’t enough to consume even one bag, but this year SIX bags of assorted candy bars, Reeses peanut butter cups, all-day suckers (as opposed to forever suckers like me) and gummythingees made it home with me.


Then, as I got out of the car, I met Kim getting into hers. Turned out she was headed to the store for…(drumroll)…Halloween candy!

“Hey, Kim…”

…and so here we were, sharing. Given that last year we had all of 20 trick or treaters between us, I think my six bags are enough.

Besides, glassland trick or treaters are are more than just polite. I mean, they are P-O-L-I-T-E.

They say, “Excuse me, trick or treat, please?” And they take one–just ONE–piece of candy.

They thank me profusely. One shook my hand.

I anxiously press them to take as much candy as they want and, no kidding, a six-year old said, “Oh, no, I couldn’t, really, but thank you so much.”

The scary-wild Danse Macabre of my youth, the one where you were just as likely to encounter a face-eating monster next door as Mrs. Gianetta who saved a special caramel apple just for you, seems to have mutated into this weirdly polite ritual candy donation:

  1. Parent waits at curb while adorable trick-or-treaters totter up to door, tiny candy receptacles in hand.
  2. Adorable T-O-Ts ring doorbell: “Excuse me, trick or treat, please?”
  3. Candy donor: “Oh my! It’s a {fill in the blank with best guess at T-O-T identity}! Here’s some candy. PLEASE, take all you want. We have plenty.”
  4. Adorable T-O-Ts solemnly consider candy bowl, choose one piece.
  5. “Oh, thank you so much, ma’am. Have a good night.”
  6. “You are welcome, adorable T-O-T.” Door closes.

One little boy burst into tears at my “go on, get wild and grab a few extra pieces of candy!” invitation, and called his mommy. She told him it was OK. Apparently, deviating from the single-piece script was well beyond his capacity but, reassured, he reached in and took…one more piece.

I’m not complaining, the kids around here are great and I do have fun talking with them. But isn’t there a hell raiser in there somewhere?

Whatever happened to the greedy little boy who had to be dragged out of the candy bowl by his feet, still fighting, as he screamed that he hadn’t gotten the last bits of candy corn?

Where’s that freaky little blonde chick who shoved all the peanut M&Ms in her mouth before her sister could get any? (I had an awful stomachache, but it was worth it)

Where are the six-foot-two trick-or-treaters who drive up badly in need of a shave, and threaten to egg your house if you don’t fill their pillowcases with Mars bars?

Hmmm. Maybe the polite ones aren’t so bad after all.