We do not get as many children as we used to on Halloween. When I was a kid, the neighborhood was filled with children scampering up and down every street.

We knew which house gave out the best treats, and sometimes we'd sneak back up a second time. I think the homeowners knew we were coming for a second round, but they didn't seem to mind. One elderly lady on 32nd Street would hand out apples dipped in caramel, and on Dogwood Street, one homeowner baked pumpkin seeds, which were very tasty.

Today's treats must be wrapped, thanks to a society that seems to have a few bad apples in the barrel. On my street alone last year, not every house celebrated Halloween, leaving their homes pitch black, with all lights turned off, as if to say, "Don't knock on our door." How times have changed.

I am working very hard to get healthy these days. I quit smoking last year, and I am working out on my brand-new elliptical machine for almost two months now. So I have decided to not buy any Halloween candy. We don't get very many kids anymore, and I always buy too much. Then guess who ends up eating it?!

Yesterday, I bought 4-inch glow light sticks and a few Mardi Gras-looking necklaces, orange in color. Another suggestion that I considered was handing out McDonald's coupons for a milkshake or fries, but I decided to have a Happy Healthy Halloween this year.

Thank you for reading my long Halloween blog. Turn on your speakers, click here, and enjoy: My Halloween Greetings Card

What are you giving out this year? What do you think about not giving out candy and going with a non-traditional treat? I'd love to hear from others.

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Comment by Jennie Ann on November 3, 2009 at 15:14
Janet, those truly were the golden years. I have fond memories of my childhood. I had a pillow case too.

Debra, "Ghosts of Benefits Past." LOL Now, that's funny. My daughters is 37 today. They sure do grow up fast. Wow!

Jeanese, I do need to check that Weigth Watchers Group out. My metabolism seems to be as slow as a turtle still. Sometimes change or something new is the ticket to success.

Kellie, it sounds like you had a GREAT Halloween. I gave out my glow sticks, Halloween-themed pencils, and finger lights. All was well until I got a group of about eight young'ns come to the door. They were accompanied by their mother. I was handing out my treats as fast as I could, and one little boy about six or seven kept yelling out, "Where's the candy? Where's the candy? How come there isn't any candy?" LOL The mother smiled and replied, "This is a good house. She is giving out good treats." I was a little bummed about the kid missing the candy. Maybe next year, I'll have to come up with some new treats. Your treats sounded cool, Kellie.
Comment by Kellie Zollars on November 3, 2009 at 10:50
I realize I'm a little late now that Halloween has past, but we get a wide variety of ages coming to our door so I try to have something for the kids who don't get to eat candy too. Target had the thin rubber bracelets in halloween colors (50 in a pack or something) so I bought those to give out. We also had plastic spider, skull, or bat rings to give out - they're really cheap looking but the kids really like them. The chocolate candy in bags is usually 10 cents each so it's sometimes cheaper to buy the nonedible stuff. With the added bonus that you can save it for next year. Glow sticks were popular handouts this year. We've also had small boxes of raisins as a choice too. And one year I bought the rubber witch's fingers with long nails that they could choose if they wanted.

We had a beautiful night for trick-or-treating so almost ran out of treats. 6 bags of candy and probably 100 plastic treats. My husband took the small bags of Pirate Booty and other healthy snack bags my kids hadn't eaten from the pantry and threw them in our treat bowl too.
One woman gave my son a cup of caramel apple dip because she had run out of candy.
It gave him a laugh.
The pumpkin shaped erasers were not a big hit. The little kids think they're candy so I wouldn't recommend those.
Comment by from Debra Maples on November 1, 2009 at 7:51
Jennie, I haven't enjoyed Halloween as much as this year for a long time and your post definitely gets me to remembering some of the best ones in the past. I, also, always (growing up) made my own costumes and did that with my daughter too. It was lots of fun!

We lived in CA when my daughter was trick-or-treating age and we would get together with other families of her friends and have a Halloween party where we played all kinds of games with prizes and the finale was a pinatta stuffed with goodes. The kids had a blast doing this and the whole thing was a great success! I miss those days and am waiting on the grandkid days (hopefully soon). Thanks for reminding me of those memories.

Oh, I have to share this. One year, when I was working for one of the large defense firms I've worked for, one lady's costume was a ghost (simple sheet over herself) with a placard hanging from her neck saying, "The Ghost of Benefits Past," which signified the benefits we had all just lost with a changing of the guard for firm leadership! She won the contest (even with the attorneys judging)!!!

It really is fun to se how creative folks can get!
Comment by Janet on November 1, 2009 at 7:19
I love Halloween. I always have. We used to bring pillow cases, too, to get as much candy as possible. I took my daughter to iParty to look for a costume this year, and they were charging $50 for a costume. No way! We ended up buying things that she could actually wear again. She went as Hermione Granger from Harry Potter.

I enjoyed handing out candy last night. It reminded me of when my kids were small. My daughter would say Trick or Treat as she was walking back down the stairs after getting the candy. Her timing was just a bit off. One little boy did the same thing last night and brought me right back to that night when my daugher did that. I had just as much fun as I used to.
Comment by Jennie Ann on October 30, 2009 at 1:35
April, that is a nice story. I come from the Woodstock alumni, and so I can definitely relate. I always get a chuckle today when I see the young folk wearing bell bottoms or "boot-legged" jeans as they're called today with the tie-dyed shirts. It is funny how style comes back full cricle. My mom would not go out in public with me if I was wearing jeans. She thought it disgraceful for a lady to wear jeans. LOL

A couple Halloweens ago, my doorbell wasn't working, and so I left the front door open, with the storm door locked, so I could hear the children walking up to get their treats. I was on the phone with a friend that evening, and I heard some young children screaming at the top of their lungs. As they approached the entranceway, my 120-pound Sammy dog stampeded the glass storm door. Though it was locked, the look of this big black lab running full speed towards them must have been a shock. They appeared to be about 5 or 6 years old, at most.

Soon their parents came running up my sidewalk from the street, wondering what was going on. I ran to the front door and assured them that my Sammy dog was friendly.

I passed out an extra bag of candy to each of those young tikes that year. I'll bet it will be one Halloween they'll never forget. LOL
Comment by April McMillan, CRR, RPR, CSR on October 29, 2009 at 16:51
Jennie, your post reminded me of my childhood. Tons of kids on the streets, pillowcases for our candy bag, and homemade costumes! When my children were of elementary age in the early '90s, I dug my feet in and they had to be creative for their costume -- we didn't buy them! My 22-year-old daughter won her kindergarten costume contest: She was a hippie! Braided her wet hair the night before, made a headband and glued plastic flowers on it, painted the peace sign on her cheeks, tie-dyed shirt 'n pants, Birken-like sandals, and the morning of she had frizzy/curly hair.
I even taught her to flash the Peace sign and say, "Peace, man." All of the teachers got a kick out of her and she felt better than any fairy princess . . .
Comment by K.C. Corbin on October 28, 2009 at 7:29
What I need to do is figure out how to set up Dragon so I can dictate my transcribing while exercising. I would imagine my huffing and puffing wouldn't help with speech recognition, though !!
Comment by Jennie Ann on October 28, 2009 at 7:10
Don't give up, K.C., on the elliptical. I was doing it 5 times a day for 2 minutes (120 rotations each leg). One night, I got the worst leg cramps in my calf muscles. OMG, I had to stand up, get up out of bed. The pain was horrible. I realized I was doing too much on the elliptical. The muscles on top of my knees burn too.

Now I am taking Sundays off on the exercise. I am doing the elliptical 3 times a day, 6 days a week, for 120 rotations on each leg. I am trying to watch what I eat still, no sugar, limited carbs, et cetera.

My metabolism still seems to be slow as a turtle. I haven't gotten on the scale yet because I don't want to get depressed. As soon as I see my face get thinner, then I will know I'm on my way.
Comment by K.C. Corbin on October 28, 2009 at 3:49

You certainly brought back memories of Halloween. We never bought costumes, but created them from what we had around the house. I remember being a genie one year (a bathing suit with chiffon scarves tucked about), just like I Dream of Jeannie. The lady that made the caramel popcorn balls was popular on our street.

Times have changed, though. We live in a great neighborhood where we know everyone and have monthly gatherings in the spring through fall. However, there are very few young kids anymore to come around trick or treating. I really like your idea for handing out items other than candy. I have not bought treats yet, so I think I will go to our local party supply store and see what I can find. Sounds like fun for me too!

Kudos to you on getting healthy, especially giving up smoking. My elliptical is still collecting dust, but I have been thinking about starting on it again. You have pushed me further in that direction.

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