I have always like Halloween. Loved trick or treating. Did not really enjoy getting egged and candy-mugged on my last trick-or-treating foray, but in general I have good memories. As long as the weather is decent, I enjoy taking my kids out trick-or-treating, but I really enjoy passing out candy to kids. I love the smiles and sugar-induced excitement. However, I do have a few Halloween rituals that I always follow.

I enjoy passing out candy and seeing the costumes, but I am a school psychologist for the public schools. It greatly benefits me to not have kids knowing where I live. Let’s be honest, school psychologist do not spend a lot of time with Wally and Beaver Cleaver. Fortunately, kids have a very hard time recognizing staff anywhere outside of a school building. Most of them believe we rarely set foot off of school property but instead live in a little teacher commune grading papers and wearing cat-sweaters. All I really need to do is let my beard grow out, maybe shave it a little different, put on jeans and a hat and I might as well be invisible. Every year I will see tons of kids who I recognize from school come to my door. Most of them look right past me. Eyes on the candy, kids. A few will stare at me while trying to puzzle something out before I turn away but I usually only get one or two yelling, “Hey! It’s Mr. Lannister from school!” Then I simply lie, they believe it and move on to the next house. No time for truths when there is loot to be plundered.

Candy selection is huge. I spend time sorting it and apply very specific rules as to who gets what candy. Bowl #1 is the good stuff. Ninety percent of the kids who come to my house get candy from Bowl #1. If you have a costume that makes me laugh, you get two handfuls. Retro video game characters can get double-dipped as well. Someday, a kid will show up with his mom dressed in a Princess Lea Return of the Jedi costume and pull it off. When that happens, they get the whole bowl and I’m shutting it down for the night. Still waiting on that one.

Bowl #2 contains Banana Laffy Taffy, those unidentifiable candies that come in the orange and black wrappers, black licorice and other assorted pieces of crap. If you come to my house and say you need extra for your baby sister in the car, you get Bowl #2. If you are a parent toting his own candy bag, you better enjoy some really stale Hubba Bubba. Any candy bag attached to an infant that can not lift her own head gets Level 2 treats. The jerk in me also picks out one costume that will automatically hit the second bowl. In the past, Jar Jar Binks, sexy or shiny vampires and Teletubbies go straight to Bowl Two. This year, any kid that shows up in any type of Minecraft costume forfeits his right to the good stuff.

Bowl #3 is the trash compactor bowl. Any left-over Happy Meal Toys go in there. Those tiny, nasty, individually wrapped jaw-breakers are there and I make sure to load that bowl with Smarties. Not because they suck, but because they tend to be loosely wrapped. I may happen to loosen those wrappers a little more and I have been known to accidentally twist on them as I drop them in bags. Who deserves to go home to a plastic Frozen Spoon, plastic spider ring, or a treat bag covered in dislodged Smarties? High school kids who show up at my door wearing their basketball jersey or no costume at all. I am not dumb enough to stiff them. I mean, I love having non-vandalized property, but I can give them lousy treats. The extra little tug on the Smarties wrapper as it is dropped into the bag is reserved for the ones who do not even give me “Trick or Treat” and just stare at me.
“What candy you got man?”
“Not much, enjoy your Elsa whistle.”

For some people, Halloween is all about costumes, pumpkin carving and apple cider. I prefer to use my time passing out judgment in candy form. Maybe I am awful person. Whatever, I am going to go eat some Smarties.

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