There’s one in every neighborhood—-the home where you know you can score a king-size candy bar on Halloween as opposed to those tiny fun-size bars (which are really not all that “fun” unless you can cram 10 in your mouth at one time).
King-size candy bars came courtesy of the Duerr family in my neighborhood. They had five kids, which explains a lot in terms of their generosity (with that many kids they were used to hosting half the neighborhood on a daily basis) and their choice of premium chocolate (one Halloween they handed out regular-size bars of Ghirardelli Chocolate flown in from San Francisco).
When it came to Halloween it was hard to top the Duerrs. Not only did they pass out the best treats, but they also had cool parents, who actually dressed up in costume and tried to scare the living daylights out of each little ghost or goblin that approached their home. If you made it past the trap door and maze of bloody limbs and decapitated heads you were rewarded with a mega-sized candy bar of your choice… and by then you needed the sugar to get your heart pumping again.
The problem with having a family like the Duerrs in your neighborhood is that other parents simply caved to the competition. No one was willing to meet or exceed what the Duerrs were willing to shell out. Granted, we should have been thanking our lucky stars we raked in one king-size bar, but as greedy little kids we could never figure out why the Marotes, Cowells, and Suders didn’t want to up the ante and pass out two mega-size bars of sugar to each trick-or-treater.
Mind you while my brothers and I were pondering this candy conundrum our own parents were far from making the Halloween Candy Honor Roll by passing out Tootsie Pops. They may not have been at the top of the list, but at least they were not at the bottom with the other parents (actually, many were in the grandparent-age category), who were handing out the dreaded apples (this was way before hidden razor blades were an issue), boxes of raisins (more trick than treat), taffy wrapped in orange wax paper (does anyone like those?), mints (and I’m not talking about the chocolate covered ones), toothbrushes (courtesy of the neighborhood dentist—in our case Dr. Willliams), and rolls of pennies (great, if you had about 10 houses doing the same).
Since becoming a parent myself I can see the logic behind some of the choices made by my old neighbors. I’m far from Duerr status (yes, I too have fallen into the fun-size chocolate trap), but on the other hand, I would never contemplate handing out stale popcorn balls or dried fruit. I wish I could afford to pass out king-size bars to each and every costumed creature that rang my doorbell, but alas, this Halloween they’ll simply have to make do with an abbreviated Snickers bar… and directions to the Romans where my daughter scored a king-sized Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme bar last year.
What kind of candy are you handing out this Halloween? Is there competition between parents in your neighborhood?
Michele Cheplic writes about red-hot celebrities in POP CULTURE, fiery topics in PARENTS, sizzling recipes in FOOD, calorie burning exercises in FITNESS, and hot new kid-friendly crafts in FUN. Check out all of her articles here.