The Post-Crescent ran a story last week on Appleton having pulled down a number 9 national ranking among best places to trick-or-treat.
Here at Valley Review, we’re calling bullcrap.
We’re not saying Appleton isn’t among the national top 10. We’re just saying the rankings put together by SmartAsset couldn’t possibly reach that conclusion based on criteria considered.
Weather? Crime statistics? Percentage of residents 14 or younger?
If you’re in a community with a high percentage of kids, it just means more competition.
If it was 70 degrees and sunny and you made it home safely, it doesn’t mean a thing if your sack is full of Dots, Bit ‘o Honey and Dum Dums.
The metrics say nothing of the percentage of households handing out full-size candy bars. They didn’t consider the likelihood of having a greater number of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups than Mr. Goodbars by the time the porch lights go dark.
We certainly have the capability of being a top 10, but it goes toward our dedication more than weather.
In short, we need to be the houses we wanted to approach when we were 9 years old.
Here’s a do and do not roadmap toward helping our home boast true trick-or-treat greatness worthy of a national top 10 designation.
Do invest in some decent candy. We aren’t demanding that middle and lower class households go full-sized candy bar, though it’s not so much to ask to pay forward based on the decent number of fun-sized M&Ms and Butterfingers stuffed in your pillow case while growing up. At the least, go half and half with decent candy and filler sweets whether its Dum Dums, Smarties or those generic orange- and black-wrapped peanut butter kisses. Our guidelines call for two pieces of good candy for cute, little kids. Older kids get one piece of good candy and a handful of filler.
Do not leave the porch light off if you are home on Halloween — unless of course you’re a sex offender. In that case, it’s fine. Even if you’re not a convicted offender who’s bound by law to keep the light off, we’ll just let you enjoy a quiet evening of “Big Bang Theory” reruns over a plate of Hamburger Helper on Halloween night. If you’re home, if you’ve trick-or-treated and if you’re not out supervising a costumed young one, there’s no excuse. Hand out candy. You’ll have fun. The excitement of the kids is infectious — I promise.
Do decorate for the holiday. The jack-o-lantern is a minimum requirement. Halloween, like Christmas, is built for showing up the neighbors and we’d argue offers far more room for creativity. Have some spooky theremin sounds rolling. Black lights and fog machines are reasonably priced, one-time investments. Build it out a little more each year. At the very least, carve a damned pumpkin.
Do not point out that teenagers are too old for trick or treating and slam the door while leaving them empty handed. Make note of the first half of the equation. You can’t complain about washing eggs off your siding if you didn’t fulfill your half of the agreement. There’s a better way to make your point known. The can teenagers get a handful of Double Bubble, Tootsie Rolls or Bit ‘O Honey. If they don’t like it, they can at that point get jobs and pull some bills out of their wallets for the good stuff after Nov. 1.
Do watch for blue buckets. They denote kids who have autism and may not say “trick or treat” or “thank you.” Either way, it’s not a good look to be calling out kids. They’re young, they might be shy. They may not be well trained on social obligations and they’re just trying to have a magical night of free candy. Simply honor that without getting in a huff should a younger fail to show the level of appreciation you deem appropriate payment for your bite-sized Skor bar.
Do not hand out pennies. Do not hand out nickels. If you’re handing out financial rather than sugary treats, go with at least dimes — and we’d suggest quarters. If not, you’ve wasted some precious time. The kids get a few short hours per year and we all get a few short years per lifetime. Find another time to make your healthy living stand — or in turn, make it worth their while.
Do dress up. Why should kids have all the fun? It’s fun to get in costume. It’s fun for kids to get some candy from a character. Everybody wins.
Do not hand out bible tracts. Of course, we all know that behind the scenes, there’s great spiritual warfare for little Johnny’s soul. But no, trick-or-treating isn’t a gateway toward witchcraft, and later, full-fledged Satanism. Johnny wants to pretend he’s Batman for a night and collect some Snickers in the process.
Just give Johnny a Snickers.