Saturday, November 01, 2008

22 Pounds of Candy in Less Than 3 Hours

So here's the thing: I don't think that in 33 years I have ever really participated in trick or treating from the giving end. Certainly I went trick or treating as a child (although growing up in NYC going door-to-door involved elevators and stairwells rather than sidewalks) but once I outgrew trick or treating, I never lived anywhere where we had a steady stream of children knocking on the door, asking for candy.

So when we were having dinner a few weeks ago with our friends Bob and Sara, and Sara said that she had tons of trick or treaters every year, I said: what time do I show up?

We arrived at Sara's house, located in a prime trick or treating neighborhood in downtown Lincolnton, at around 6:30pm. There were 3 large bowls on her coffee table - all filled with candy. As it turns out, it was roughly 22 lbs of candy, but I didn't know it at the time. I just got to work giving it out every time the doorbell rang.

At first, I was conservative. I would hand out 1 piece - or let the kids pick 1 out themselves. But then it was suggested that maybe I was being a wee bit stingy given how much candy we had, so I started handing out 2 pieces per child and then letting them pick a third. Of course, I should clarify that with 22 lbs of candy - there was a wide assortment: Tootsie Rolls of varying shapes, sizes and flavors; Butterfingers; Snickers; Milky Ways; Hershey Bars; M&Ms; Skittles; Tootsie Pops; Double Bubble; Dum Dums; Whoppers; Dots; Starburst; Reese's Peanut Butter Cups; chocolate pumpkins - the list goes one. So it wasn't enough for me to simply grab 2 or 3 pieces - I had to think it through. They had to get a mix - something chocolatey, something fruity or not chocolately - and if they got something big, like the mini bags of Skittles or M&Ms, that had to be countered with something small, like a Tootsie Roll midgie. Also, if they got something we didn't have a lot of, say a Snickers, it had to be balanced by something we had in abundance, like the Dum Dums.

To say I took my candy distribution duties seriously is an understatement. Of course, as the stream of kids picked up, I could no longer afford the time for them to choose what they wanted. So I took over handing out, still trying to make sure that whatever I gave out was "balanced." And somewhere in there, I went from 2 or 3 pieces to 4 or 5. In fact, we went through so much candy, that at around 8:00pm, we were down to the bottom of the barrel. So I had to cut back to 2 pieces per kid - of course we only had small items: the midgies, Double Bubble and Dum Dums so I felt really bad. What can I say, I blew my wad early. But we did manage to conserve enough to get through til 9pm when the trick or treating finally died down.

Anyways, handing out candy was a total blast and definitely the highlight of my Halloween. It may have also helped that for the first time in I don't know how many years, I was in costume:

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...