Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Past Deadline: Halloween Is Like a Bump on the Head

Here is the latest "Past Deadline," published in The Perth Courier on Wednesday, Nov. 4/08. And my head feels better, thanks.

Halloween is like a bump on the head

A couple of weeks ago I bent down to scoop something up off the kitchen floor and knocked my forehead on the knob of a wooden chair so hard that I staggered upstairs to weep for a bit.

The similarities between that incident and Halloween are noteworthy.

With Halloween, although the moment of impact (trick or treating) is far less physically painful, the subsequent bruising and aching (begging for treats from the bag) goes on for days or weeks. There are people in my house who have a wicked sweet tooth. Lots o’ people, actually. Some folks manage to avoid sweets easily because they are not presented with the temptation. Others are constantly tempted.

In other words, if I’m doing the shopping, I probably won’t buy that sinister box of mini chocolate bars. If said box is brought home by some other household shopper, though, those chocolate bars – along with my hips – are doomed. Not only that, but when small people spy treats in a cupboard, it always sparks a “Can I?! Can I?! Can I?!” kind of debate, to which I, as Mother of the Year, respond, “It’s ‘May I.’ Now go away.”

Then along comes Halloween, when there is not only our own leftover candy with which to contend, but whole new bagfuls supplied by the urchins. This means I must now navigate a daily barrage of candy begging from the short people. Pre-Halloween, I have sometimes looked in our cupboards and thought [cue old-timer voice]: “In my day, we used to go to our grandparents for treats and junk food. At home all we ever got was fruit and vegetables and healthy stuff.” Now, though, I sometimes think they eat better away from home.

Okay. I’m exaggerating slightly. But there is so much C.R.A.P. (Cheap Rotten Atrocious Product – how’s that for an acronym?) on store shelves that it’s hard to escape it. On top of that ongoing hazard, once a year we go begging door to door for more C.R.A.P. “In my day, Halloween was a time when we could get the candy we never got to see at home.” Now we just add it to the C.R.A.P. that’s already in the cupboards.

What’s wrong with this picture? Why can’t Halloween be a time to go door to door collecting fresh, locally grown organic fruit and vegetables and a year’s supply of toothbrushes? Oh, and gold bullion. Boy, do I ever sound like a parent. Or a dentist. Or a pirate.

So now I’ve got a few weeks’ worth of extra C.R.A.P. to navigate. In past years I’ve rationed the stuff, doling out a select few morsels a day, but some moms suggest letting the little urchins gorge on it immediately so they’re sick of it right away. Short-term pain for long-term gain? I’m considering it.

Groom-boy and I used to cull the bags a bit when the kids were too teeny tiny for most of the stuff. We can still thin out Girlchild’s collection, but Boychild is much more adept at inventorying. So long, mini chocolate bars for mama. An added “thrill” this year is removing the “Made in China” products from the bag (sorry, China, but I’m a little spooked) in addition to looking for razor blades, damaged packages and stale dates.

Last year I opened a bag of chips for Boychild and didn’t notice until I took the first bite that they were a full year past due. Fortunately I only sacrificed my own mouth. It’s good to have a personal taster on staff. I threw out the bag and spent the next half hour gargling.

Good times, Halloween. If it wasn’t for the sheer glee observed on the faces of my little Spiderman and pink fairy princess (can you believe Girlchild dressed up as a pink fairy princess?) as they went door to door happily collecting “treasures,” I’d probably suggest a family vacation somewhere remote until it was all over. Actually, that sounds good anyway – Halloween or not.

All I know for sure is my forehead still hurts and I think I should wear a helmet for the next couple of weeks as I continue to symbolically smash my skull into hard objects while doling out candy.


momma's heart said...

Too funny! I'm for the "gorge on it" idea. Or, one thing I've tried when we had a bag of suckers in the house, is to say yes, but only if they were willing to brush their teeth right after. Timmy, the one with the sweet tooth, went for this for a few days, and then quit asking for suckers. I'm now saving them for when a migraine hits and I need peace and quiet. Suckers do buy one a good twenty minutes of peace and quiet!

Sparky said...

same problem here. They seem to have forgotten about it though. I kept eating it. I've thrown it into the garbage and am bracing for the day they remember they had any. Maybe that day will not come. A girl can dream.