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Trick or treat… a hassle either way

by TYLER WILSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| October 24, 2020 1:00 AM

There’s some debate about the safety and practicality of trick-or-treating during a pandemic. I don’t necessarily know the right answer, but I’ll happily take another excuse to avoid the activity this year.

Nothing against the tradition in theory. As a kid, I loved trick-or-treating, obviously, and as a parent I appreciate how excited my own kids get about wandering around in the dark, collecting candy from strangers. Hmm. Sounds weird when you say it like that.

It’s just SO MUCH WORK taking four little kids trick-or-treating. I end up carrying EVERYTHING. Candy buckets, jackets, costume props, masks, scooters, bikes, etc. By the end, I’m carrying entire children for blocks... often through freezing rain and frigid temperatures. October 31 is too late for Halloween in the Inland Northwest. Can’t we just move it up to Oct. 5 and avoid the possibility of a snowstorm?

Other parents probably deliver better Halloween experiences for their children. My wife and I tend to hamstring the endeavor before it even begins.

Last year makes a great example. Our youngest child, then age 2, was finally big enough to do the full experience alongside his older siblings. Though we brought along his stroller (because we’re not complete idiots), he kept insisting he walk throughout the neighborhood alongside his brother and sisters.

Parents know the #1 rule of stroller usage: Never give your little kiddo the option of walking alongside the stroller at ANY POINT during an outing. You’ll just be pushing an empty stroller the entire time.

We made another boneheaded decision too. We underestimated the weather. While it wasn’t raining or snowing, the temperature dipped into the 30s. Yes, all four kids wore coats over their costumes (What’s the point, right? I’m telling you - Oct. 5 should be the day). But we neglected to pull out the bag of winter hats and gloves before venturing into the night.

It was fine for a little while. Our 2-year-old kept pace with his siblings, and I only ended up carrying my oldest daughter’s scooter for 50 percent of the time.

Then the hands started getting cold. Ice cold. The older kids were resourceful enough… they stuck their hands into the coat pockets and flailed them around to keep the blood flowing. The 2-year-old only thought about one thing -- holding the candy bucket with his two exposed hands.

Blocks away from the house sans gloves, we did what every classy parent does in this situation - we pulled socks off of feet and made the kiddo wear them as mittens. Unfortunately, his socks were paper thin and essentially worthless. Not that it mattered. He couldn’t grip his bucket well enough with them on and refused to wear them.

At that point, we were at least smart enough to cut trick-or-treating short and begin the trek home. There was screaming, of course. Terrible shrieks into the night. And then the 2-year-old was stricken with a horrific curse - he was too cold to move. So I had to take my own warm sweater, wrap him like a mummy and carry the wailing beast all the way home.

At home, the candy bucket we left on the porch for other trick-or-treaters remained untouched. Hardly anybody ever comes to our door. We could have played trick-or-treat in our front yard and ended up with the same amount of candy.

The only consolation of this nightmare scenario was rummaging through the kids’ buckets of candy after they went to bed. At least I (probably) burned enough calories to justify scarfing down all their Reese’s cups and Snickers bars. Look, one of our four kids has a peanut allergy, so we gotta make sure all that peanut-candy disappears by morning. For safety.

We told our kids we might do something different this year because of the pandemic. We’ll do all the usual things - pumpkin painting, costume parties, spooky decorations and a steady stream of sweet treats. But trick-or-treating might be out.

“Will we still get candy?” all of them ask.

“Yes,” we tell them. We might do a candy hunt around the house and play games with candy prizes.

My 7-year-old son summed up their collective response perfectly:

“Okay, as long as there’s candy, we don’t care about trick-or-treating.”

Coulda told me that a few years ago, bud.

• • •

Tyler Wilson is a freelance writer and stay-at-home parent to four kids, ages 3-9. He is tired. He can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com.