It’s the day before Halloween, and I’m here to help ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of some vengeful neighborhood kids this year. A lot has changed since I was an appropriate age for trick-or-treating, but one thing certainly hasn’t. It’s all about the candy.
Whether it’s a ghost, witch, princess or Power Ranger at your door, they all have one thing in common: They are paying very close attention to what you drop into their bags. And, more importantly, they are judging you. Sure, they may smile and say thanks, but mental notes are being made.
Kids certainly have personal favorites in the candy department, but there is a wide selection that is more than acceptable.
There are some definite don’ts, however, and here are 10 of them. If you’re planning to greet the kids at your door with any of the following tomorrow night, I urge you to reconsider. You’ll save yourself time cleaning up the smashed pumpkin on your porch that’s soon to follow.
- Peeps — This marshmallow concoction has its place, but just because there are versions that look like a jack-o-lantern does not mean that place is Halloween. The only potential upside is that they will be soft if the kids decide to throw them back at you.
- Pennies — There aren’t many times in life when it’s disappointing to have someone hand you money. This is one of them. Kids would still rather have some bite-sized chocolate and nougat, even if you’re handing out Sacaqawea dollars.
- Raisins — No explanation needed.
- Pencils — A cruel reminder to kids that their teacher gave them homework over the weekend.
- Jawbreakers — This will end up in a kid’s mouth for about 20 seconds and there will likely be four or five near-choking incidents during that time. Then it will end up collecting lint in a pocket only to be found by an angry mom on laundry day.
- Circus Peanuts — I can’t even believe these are still manufactured. Just an orange-colored, banana-flavored sugar crash waiting to happen.
- Homemade anything — No caramel apples and nothing baked from scratch or wrapped in wax paper. These will be a hit with the family at Thanksgiving. On Halloween, they will immediately be thrown away by parents who suspect they contain poison or hypodermic needles.
- Hard candy — I like a butterscotch disc as much as the next guy, but this is Halloween. Even if you are in your late ’80s, you can do better.
- Toothbrush — It doesn’t matter if you’re the town dentist, this is not the time to teach a lesson. Play it safe.
- Trick — The worst of all. If you’re thinking about busting out some amateur magic, it’s time to take a long, hard look in the mirror. And when you do, I’m guessing you’ll see a suspicious-looking guy with an unfortunate moustache staring back at you.
And finally, remember there’s always the option of hiding in the basement with the lights out.