Back in my day, we trick or treated, and then we ate our candy

Two things have made me feel old and crotchedy this week, even though I have only just turned 31.

The first thing to set of my radar is all this sudden talk of candy buy back programs.  In the past several days I have gotten three separate emails from stores offering us 25% off a toy or a special treat if we take our candy into them during the week following Halloween.  Many mom bloggers have also mentioned the whole candy buy-back thing.

I’m sorry, but WHAT?!!!???

In my day we trick or treated, brought home our candy, and spread it out to admire and gloat over.  The next school day we took in the stuff we didn’t like and traded furiously to acquire stuff we DID like.  We then went on a sugar binge that lasted until the tryptophan in the Thanksgiving Turkey finally put us to sleep, and all the adults around us (with the possible exception of our dentists) seem to agree with us that this was the normal progression.  Although I have been far too old to trick or treat for years (SAD), I still believe that this is the God Given Right of every child in the US (and anywhere else that celebrates Halloween with trick or treating).

Now, I realize that the 80’s were this CRAZY decade where parents let, nay ENCOURAGED children to eat junk food like McNuggets (invented in the 80’s, baby!) and sugary breakfast cereals handed out toys in the box and fruit roll ups and other sugary snacks advertised right there on the television.  Oh, and Cookie Monster?  NEVER would have touched fruit with a 10 foot pole…even a 10 foot pole made of cookies.

Today we’re all worried about childhood obesity blah blah blah…but seriously people?  It’s Hallo-fucking-ween!!!  Let them eat their candy.  Save the hummus and the pita bread and the soy nut butter for November 2nd, kay?

Item number two on my Halloween grinch list…my apartment building.  I live in a “luxury” apartment building.  This means no one has a mat outside their door, the hallways all look like a Stepford hotel, and there’s zero personality in the building.  It also happens to mean living on a busy street where we can walk to public transit and tons of restaurants, and we have underground assigned parking and don’t have to shovel out our cars through a hellish New England winter-YAY.  I wasn’t shocked, although I was irritated to hear that we wouldn’t be allowing the ruffians who don’t live here into the building to trick or treat because that’s precisely the sort of NIMBY-ism I see all the time here (NIMBY-not in my back yard).  But then I was also told that children who live in the building also were not allowed to trick or treat.  There is also no building sponsored party or any sort of consolation prize.  Guess we’ll have to go out and trick or treat with the plebians, where we belong.

I made a point of telling the building manager that this is the sort of subtle snub that our property has engaged in time and time again that has made it clear that children are tolerated, not welcomed.  Which is a shame as there are plenty of lovely people in the building who have been nothing but sweet to my daughter, including in the office.  But they just can’t be bothered to make kids welcome, even as their parents pay a monthly rent double my friend in Florida’s mortgage.

These are small things in the grand scheme of things…it’s not like we were going to do real trick or treating with E this year anyways.  We figured 3-4 doors and that was it.  Just enough to take some pictures, have some fun, and then come home to hand out candy…the latter which we apparently won’t be doing now.  More than likely we were also planning on a different apartment for next year…underground parking is all well and good but I loathe the wall to wall carpeting and we could easily save up to 500+ a month in rent by moving someplace cheaper.

What really bothers me is how parents seem to be intent in robbing children of the fun of childhood.  They worry about the food the children are eating and some schools have eliminated band candy and bake sales…some going so far as to ban the beloved cupcake.  Parents worry about safety to the point of hovering over their children well into the college plus years creating young adults who have no independence or problem solving skills.  Parents worry about bumps and bruises and keep their kids in the stroller until age 4 or older in the mall (while my not quite 1 year old has walked on the last two trips…we have the stroller, but she’s not in it).  Parents structure time until kids have no time alone to just play or be bored…for that matter if kids are bored parents feel pressured to find something for them to do (my response will always be if you’re bored I can find something for you to do…housework!…I’m pretty sure they’ll find something else to do on their own).

Some of the best things about being a kid were things most kids today will never be allowed to do…  I remember the joy of being allowed to go see a movie by myself at age 11 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer the movie because my mom refused to see it and I badgered her until she just dropped me at the theater and let me see it alone).  I remember wandering through woods on my own.  I remember walking to the store by myself for the first time (a walk of a good 1/2 mile).  Walking and Biking to school alone or with friends starting around age 8.  Being a latch-key kid for a few hours.  Sitting in the car and reading instead of going into the grocery store with my mom when I was around 7/8/9  (for the record, Free Range Kids recounts Child Protective Services has been called over this recently).  Bingeing on candy Halloween night and the weeks that followed.  Watching more than X number of hours of tv per day.

Candy buy-back programs and buildings that refuse to let residents trick or treat????  That’s a trick

Relaxing and just letting your kids eat the damn candy?  What a treat!

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